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Ghana: National Exporters' Forum Held in AccraThursday, July 30, 2015 > 09:48:00
(All Africa By G.D. Zaney)
In response to the challenges faced by exporters in accessing long-term credit for their businesses, a draft bill for the establishment of the Ghana Exim Bank, which is expected to begin operations in 2016, has been prepared for consideration by Cabinet.
The Bank will serve as a vehicle for the consolidation of the current export finance activities of the export trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF), Eximguaranty Company and the Export Finance Company.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister for Trade and Industry, made these known in an address at the 76th National Exporters' Forum in Accra, yesterday.
Dr Spio-Garbrah also announced that government had identified and selected eleven priority product areas for further development to stimulate the sustainable growth of Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs), in line with the National Export Development Strategy (NES).
He said the Ministry of Trade and Industry was collaborating with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) to implement an Export Development Programme that would rekindle the interest and involvement of districts and local farmers in the export chain drive.
Under this collaboration, he said, products such as vegetables and the sugar loaf and smooth cayenne pineapple, among others, were being supported to yield critical production mass for export.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said government was working hard to establish its presence in the Asia market and urged exporters in these sectors to apply good agricultural practices in the cultivation of their products to prevent the receipt of alerts from buyers.
On cocoa, Dr Spio-Garbrah said Ghana was currently participating in the Milan Expo 2015 under the theme: 'Cocoa: Your wealth, health and heritage' and that the gains from Ghana's participation would help improve cocoa exports.
In a welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, Mr Gideon Quarcoo, said GEPA's goal was to increase the export of NTEs to US$5 billion by the end of 2019.
Mr Quarcoo said GEPA was committed to working with the exporter community to help the nation realize its targets and to promote economic development.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders in the sector to pay particular attention to increased supply volumes, higher quality standards and a willingness to take the required risks to embrace market expansion for their products.
From January to December 2014, total NTE earnings amounted to US$2.514 billion (GHC7.291 billion), representing an increase of 3.20 per cent in value over the previous year, 2013, which stood at US$2.436 billion (GHC4.757 billion), according to the 2014 NTE Export Performance Report.
From 2005 to 2008, the Report indicates, the sector grew steadily at an annual average rate of about 20.1 per cent from US$ 777.59 million to US$1,340.94 million.
And in 2009, the Report says, there was a fall of about 9.38 per cent amounting to US$ 1,215 million due primarily to the global economic downturn, a drop in Ghana's competitiveness due to increased cost of production and low production volumes experienced within the period.
In 2010 and 2011, according to the Report, earnings from the sector went up by 34.1 per cent and 48.74 per cent, amounting to US$ 1.629 billion and US$2.423 billion, respectively.
In 2012, says there was a decline in earnings by 2.24 per cent, amounting to US$2.364 billion while in 2013, earnings from the sector went up by 3.05 per cent to US$ 2.436 billion.
The Report notes that the highest rate of performance - 30.4 per cent - occurred in 2007.