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Mr John Gatsi, an Economist on Tuesday called for the diversification of the export trade portfolio and activities to include non-traditional commodities such as mango and orange.

Mr Gatsi, a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast who made the call expressed confidence that the move would serve as an avenue for the country to explore new market opportunities and to wean itself of the sole-dependency on traditional exports such as cocoa.

He was speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the end of the first session of a two-day workshop organised by the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) in Accra.

The workshop which is sponsored by STAR-Ghana, a multi donor pooled organisation is aimed at providing support to Civil Society Organisations, stakeholders and the media to make an input in addressing Ghana?s economic challenges, assess government?s approach in managing the economy and offer suggestions on the way forward for the 2014 fiscal year.

Mr Gatsi called for value-addition to Ghana?s exported commodities.

He suggested that the country needs to explore new markets and deepen trade activities with neighbouring countries.

At the forum, Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State in charge of Public-Private Partnerships at the Presidency expressed the need for the diversification of export products as a means of creating jobs and sustaining economic growth.

He said Government would soon announce its policy on export diversification to enable exporters and entrepreneurs to explore the economic prospects in the sector.

The forum is expected to attract Government officials, experts, policy think tanks and academia to address 10 thematic areas including the fiscal and current account deficits, issues pertaining to the health sector, employment generation, infrastructure development and the role of agriculture in the socio-economic development of the country.

Other areas are the projects to be undertaken under the Public Private Partnership include the current system of education, issues on sustainable energy and social protection.

IFEJ in March year organised a four-day advocacy programme for some members of Parliament a week after the 2013 Budget Statement and Economic Policy was presented by the Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terpker in Accra.

This was followed by a two-day forum in Kumasi for journalists and other stakeholders in the Northern sector comprising Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions.

The on-going forum however is expected to debate and discuss the 2014 Budget Statement and collate views in order to help government come up with a meaningful budget that would be owned by all.

It is on the theme: ?Tracking the Performance of the 2013 Budget Statement and Expectations for 2014.?

Source: GNA

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