The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has dismissed claims by the NDC that the Chinese $302,311 and 2 buses donation made to the ministry on Tuesday, defeats President Akufo-Addo’s “Ghana beyond aid agenda”.
The minister said the donation is only a “gesture of friendship” and should not be misconstrued as a deviation from the Ghana beyond aid agenda.
“I don’t think it’s an insult for the Chinese, as a gesture of friendship. I don’t see anything wrong with it. It has nothing to our quest to become ‘Ghana beyond aid”, she said on 3FM, Thursday.
China’s Ambassador-designate to Ghana, Shi Ting Wang, while making the donation to the ministry said his country is determined on demonstrating its commitment to supporting Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The donation has since sparked controversy in some sections of the public, with many questioning the motive of the donation.
The Minority in Parliament in particular has been very critical on the matter.
A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament and Member of Parliament for Builsa South, Dr. Clement Apaak questioned whether the gesture is a way to divert attention from the involvement of Chinese national in illegal activities.
“It seems to suggest that these gifts are just a way of massaging and perhaps trying to find a very public and nice way to divert attention from some of this rather negative repercussions that citizens of Cina in Ghana are perpetrating”, he said on 3FM.
But the sector minister differed in position on the matter, expressing her dismay. According to her, such donations are normal inter-ministry engagements.
“I’m surprised he is saying something like this because this is not the first time that a ministry to ministry donation has been made. We also once in a while make donations to less endowed ministries when on tour”, she said.
She stated government has not relented on its agenda to make Ghana a self reliant country.
“The quest to become a ‘Ghana beyond aid’ is very much on course. Even America is sometimes given gifts. That doesn’t belittle them neither does it draw them back in terms of their policy initiative,” she explained.
However, development expert and lecturer at the University of Development Studies, Dr. Osman Banda says receiving such donations would have repercussions on the country in the long term.
“It has a future implication on the successor. Grounds are laid for further negotiations going forward. It’s still a concern to the ordinary Ghanaian that a major ministry in terms of our operations, furnishing our offices, it is not just a gift, it is not just an aid or support”.
He also added that there are usually strings attached with such donations.
“Strings attached will not be made clear in the short run. We will see the implications in the long run. The implications in terms of the Chinese engaging in retailing activities in our markets instead of leaving it to the ordinary Ghanaian for the day to day affairs of their livelihoods” he explained.