Italian Ambassador Calls on Information Minister
Accra, Sept 6, GNA - The Italian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Tullio Guma, on Monday praised Ghana for maintaining the peace suitable for investment. He urged Ghana to take advantage of the many support programmes and projects being offered by the Italian Government to help sustain her economy. Mr Guma said this when he called on the Minister of Information, Mr John Tia Akologu, as part of a tour to familiarize himself with all sector ministries in the country to share Italy's vision and mission with Ghana. He discussed the bilateral relation between the two countries and said he would continue to work together with Ghanaian authorities to deepen ties. Mr Akologu recalled Ghana-Italy relations dating back from 1954 when one Professor Vinigin L. Grottanelli of the University of Rome led an Italian Ethnological Mission to Ghana to study aspects of the Nzema Ethnic Group in western Ghana. He was happy that Italian construction companies also participated actively in the construction of the Akosombo and Kpong Dams. Currently, the Italian Cooperation for Development (COSPE) was providing technical assistance to small/micro enterprises support system programmes in the Jomoro and Eastern Nzema Districts in the Western Region with funding from the European Union. Mr Akologu announced that the Italian Government had increased the amount of the Ghana Private Sector Development Facility (GPSDF) from 11 million euros to 22 million euros for the various projects. He explained however that financing for the project had presently stopped to make way for auditing for the first chunk of 11 million euros as stipulated in the initial agreement. "About 300 Ghanaian companies, so far have applied to the fund but since the Italian government had frozen the funds, these companies have been unable to assess the funds. "The Ministries of Trade and Industry, Finance and Economic Planning and the Auditor General are working to resolve the issue to enable the funds to be accessed," he said. The Minister urged Italy to take advantage and invest in the Oil and gas industry, which would soon be booming in Ghana. Data available at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre ((GIPC) indicates that between September 1994 and July 2008, Italian foreign direct investment in Ghana totalled 64 projects, putting the country at the 9th position regarding the order of merit of countries with investment in Ghana. Areas of Italian investment in Ghana include agriculture, building construction, export trade, general trade, manufacturing, service and tourism. Italy is also into defence operation by contributing a total of 300,000.00 euros towards the running of the Kofi Annan Peace-Keeping Centre, in addition to training courses in the field of peacekeeping and peace-building held in Turin and other facilities in Italy. More than 80 Italian companies are currently operating in the Country.
Source: Ghana News Agency