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Business News of Saturday, 24 May 2014

Source: GNA

Mauritius veep hands over investment deal to MoFA

Visiting Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr. Charles Xavier-Luc Duval, on Friday, handed over a concluded Memorandum of Understanding to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for study.

The agreement forms the basis for strengthening investment partnership in the agricultural sectors in both nations.

Mr. Duval pledged to share his country’s longstanding expertise in fisheries, poultry and sugarcane plantations and help Ghana reduce its huge recurrent import bill.

He said, “Mauritius has expertise in agriculture, particularly, in sugarcane production and fisheries and we look forward to see how to facilitate this investment in Ghana as a flagship one in Africa.”

Ghana’s import bill for 2013 rose to US$17 billion from US$11 billion in 2010 while its debt to GDP ratio stood at 52 per cent.

Mr. Duval, who is leading a delegation of 30 businessmen on a three-day visit, hailed Ghana for having a stable economy, ensuring the rule of law and security, and making it an ideal place to do business.

Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan, a MoFA Deputy Minister responsible for Crops, said government has in place an action plan aimed at reducing import dependency, particularly in sugar and rice.

He said Ghana was vigorously pursuing infrastructural expansion and developing irrigation facilities to exploit opportunities in the sector to open more employment avenues and reduce poverty.

Mr. Thomas Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, a Deputy Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, assured the Mauritius Veep of availability of vast arable land.

He said government was restructuring the economy from a subsistence level to commercial, as well as refocusing its attention on aquaculture due to “dwindling marine resources.”

He said Ghana consumes 800,000 metric tons of fish every year with average consumption per head hovering about 24 to 25 kilograms.

However, he said the sector was saddled with poor vessel monitoring systems and lack of storage facilities for artisan fishing folks.

He said, “we produce a lot of seafood but most leave the shores unprocessed…about 30 per cent of fish from our artisanal fishermen go waste.”

Mauritian energy and manufacturing firm, Omnicane, is due to invest about US$250 million into sugar plantations in Ghana and create production capacity of 100,000 tons of refined sugar each year.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry, had welcomed the move saying Ghana, with a consistent growth rate of between 7 and 14 per cent, held prospects for massive investment.

He added, “I encourage businesses not to hesitate to invest in Ghana.”

In another development, the Mr. Duval also paid a courtesy call on the First Deputy Speaker of parliament, Mr. Ebo Barton-Oduro, to discuss ways of forging a relationship in democratic governance.

Mr. Oduro explained Ghana’s parliamentary proceedings as well as the work of the appointments committee of parliament to Mr. Duval, who expressed interest in introducing it in Mauritius.

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