The CEO of A2Z Movement, organisers of the maiden edition of Miss Buy Ghana pageant, Felix Agbeko, has blamed the Ministry of Trade and Industry for his company’s inability to give out prizes to last year’s winners.
Responding to questions posed to him by Showbiz last week, following this paper’s investigations, Mr Agbeko confirmed that indeed all the three top winners had not recieved their prizes which Showbiz reckoned to be a total of GH¢ 40,000.
In his explanation, Mr Agbeko said, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the main sponsors of the event, had formed a committee to monitor the event and at one of the committee’s meeting, one Mr. Atuahene who was seletced to head the comittee promised that the Ministry would provide the prize package for the winners.
“He even repeated that promise during the final show when he was interviewed by the media. There are You Tube videos of that as evidence,” Mr Agbeko said.
He told Showbiz that it was not a deliberate decision not to give the winners their prizes but had been disappointed by the “promise and fail” stand of the Ministry.
He used the opportunity to plead with the ladies to exercise patience since he was doing everything to get their prizes for them.
He said it was the quest to make the pageant a formidable brand that he is securing a new sponsorship deal with Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF).
“All these are happening because there was miscommunication to the then Chief Director who has gone on retirement. The new Director doesn’t have an idea about this project.”
But the Ministry of Trade and Industry has denied the claims made by the organisers. According to the Deputy Public Relations Officer, Mr Nasir Ahmed Yartey, who spoke to Showbiz last week Friday, the Ministry had to put on hold further payments to the pageant because of what he said were “outstanding issues” between the Ministry and the organisers.
Though he acknowledged that he didn’t have much detail of the issues at hand since he wasn’t officially assigned to oversee the organisation of the pageant, he confirmed that indeed the Ministry was yet to pay for the prizes of the winners.
In his explanation, Mr. Yartey said they had to take the decision because the Ministry was a government institution and needed to give a proper audit of their financial expense, one that the organisers and the Ministry had to settle because of the “outstanding issues”.
“We have goodwill for the pageant that is why we came on board to sponsor. Pageants such as this are normally sponsored by private entities but we decided to sponsor because of it entrepreneurial potentials.
“The money invested in the organisation and preparation of the pageant before the finals is higher than the proposed prize package for the winners so there was no way we couldn’t have afforded the prize package. But as I said earlier, we need to settle some issues,” he stated.
Interestingly, the organisers have started advertising this year’s pageant and they have the Ministry as a partner. When questioned about it, Mr. Yartey said the Ministry had no official agreement with the organisers as a sponsor for this year’s show.
The Miss Buy Ghana pageant was put together to whip up the interest of Ghanaians especially the youth to develop the habit of patronising made in Ghana goods.
The first edition which was held last year was to enhance the campaign for the production and patronage of local goods.