By Frank Amponsah
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has described as baseless allegations in the media, including social media platforms, that the Ministry had charged expatriates between 25,000 and 100,000 dollars to offer them seats close to the President at the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA).
The ministry indicated that non-mischievous minds with a basic knowledge of event organization will know that as is the case with all fundraising activities, there were different sponsorship categories and packages with their attendant benefits and as to how one chooses to categorize them, whether presidential circle or platinum down to the last package, is only a matter of semantics, nomenclature and ingenuity.
In a press release signed and issued by Boakye-Boateng Prince, the Team Leader for Communications and Advocacy at the Ministry Of Trade And Industry and Spokesperson to the Awards Committee, he explained that it is very worrying for people who are expected to know better to conveniently join the bandwagon in pursuit of petty partisan parochial interests to churn out deliberate falsehood to perpetuate the fallacy that access to the President has to be secured with financial inducements.
He explained that the GEBA was the brainchild of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, an entity noted for its prowess and credibility in the organisation of world class events such as the Millennium Excellence Awards and the Accra Marathon.
According to him, “upon the conception of the novel idea, the Foundation informed the government, through the Presidency and further sought partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the organisation of the first ever award event targeted at recognizing and rewarding the contributions of the expatriate and naturalized expatriate community to the socio-economic advancement of the country over the decades. For the avoidance of doubt, this is the first of its kind in Africa.”
He said “As a Government that believes in the private sector as the engine of growth, the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry welcomed the initiative to collaborate with the Foundation to see to the birthing of the initiative.”
The Ministry, he said, consequently signed an MoU with the Foundation that spelt out the roles of both parties including resource mobilization to ensure that the event was organized at no cost to the taxpayer.
“As a serious and experienced event organizer, the Foundation came up with a sponsorship programme as would be done by any serious-minded event organizer which included series of fundraising dinners and sponsorship packages. …The two documents being paraded in the social media and some other platforms, that is the Ministry of Trade letter and the Millennium Excellence Foundation Package have nothing in common as they were not presented to sponsors at the same time. The Ministry only wrote letters to introduce the Millennium Excellence Foundation to sponsors and solicited support whilst the Foundation prepared the sponsorship package kits and presented it to potential sponsors at a later date.”
He also averred that a technical team defined the criteria for evaluating the award categories. This technical team consisted of personnel from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Registrar General’s Department, the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Private Enterprises Federation, the Ghana Free Zones Board and the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
KPMG, Boakye-Boateng Prince explained, acted as an independent party to evaluate, analyse and validate the data to determine the winners.
He also explained their role as Event Statisticians requiring them to ensure that the defined criteria and process for determining the winners were strictly adhered to.
KPMG then concluded that the award winners won on the basis of the criteria and process defined by the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards Technical Team.
“The GEBA has come to stay as an event to be held every other year to appreciate the contributions of the expatriate and naturalized expatriate community to the growth of the country. An investigative report by a competent security agency of the country has put to rest the spurious allegations that one has to pay his or her way to have access to the Presidency. Let no one attempt to resurrect a dead issue through GEBA.”
He said, the Ministry of Trade and Industry as one of the major drivers of the industrial transformation agenda of government will continue to endorse and support worthy initiatives as GEBA that is championed by proven credible individuals or organisations to help accelerate socio-economic advancement of Ghana.
He said people who know or ought to know better should desist from mischief and propaganda and rather learn to commend individuals and institutions that come up with initiatives such as the GEBA that has the capacity to boost the country’s FDIs.
“It is gratifying to us as partners that all the wild and unsubstantiated falsehoods have not included anything to the effect that any company that won an award did so by virtue of its ability to pay – a testament to the commendable work of the event validators, the reputable KPMG.”