Ghana and China have affirmed their resolve to deepen trade, cultural and diplomatic relations for their mutual benefit.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, and the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Shi Ting Wang, made the pledge in Accra yesterday.
Mr Shi had paid a courtesy call on Prof. Oquaye to seek the cooperation of Parliament in deepening the bilateral ties between Ghana and China.
In his remarks, Prof. Oquaye said Ghana's Parliament was ready to develop a closer relationship with the Parliament of China.
He said the Parliamentary Service Board had decided that Parliament would not just be a spending institution but also a finance-generating one.
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As a result, he said, there were a number of projects that Parliament would be embarking upon and urged China to partner Parliament in the execution of those projects.
He expressed the hope that the Ghana-China Friendship Association in Parliament would secure Chinese investment to Parliament to strengthen the institution.
Making a point, the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said quite a respectable number of Ghanaian traders, especially women, went to China for business purposes.
He said sometimes the treatment and delays that the women endured at the Chinese Embassy in Accra were not the best.
"Trust that none of our Ghanaian traders is interested in going to live permanently in China. When they apply for visas, appreciate that it is for commercial business purposes. Therefore, accord them the courtesies and dignity that they require as citizens," he said.
Offering his support to the issue raised by Mr Iddrisu, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said the intention of the women was to procure goods and come to retail them in Ghana.
He said there was no intention of the traders to go and stay in China, hence the need to facilitate the release of visas to them.
In his response, Mr Shi said the Chinese Embassy in Accra was willing to work with the Ghana-China Parliamentary Friendship Association and the
Ghana-China Friendship Group to deepen the relations between Ghana and China.
He said as the Ambassador of China to Ghana, he would facilitate ties between the parliaments of Ghana and China.
Mr Shi again affirmed the commitment of China to continue to invest in infrastructure projects in Ghana.
He said China was in support of the President's policy of One-district, One-factory, as well as the Ghana beyond aid agenda.
On the visa issue, he said although Ghana was not a big country, the number of people applying for Chinese visas was big, which brought a lot of pressure to the visa section.
He said the challenge was that many of the documents submitted, including bank statements and invitation letters, were forged.
"The long queues are not a problem. The challenge we face is that every day we receive documents for visa applications. Many of them are forged documents. They forge bank statements, invitation letters and others," he said.
Mr Shi asked the security agencies to cooperate with the Chinese Embassy to reduce the number of forged documents.