Deputy Trade and Industry Minister and MP for Tema West, Carlos Ahenkorah is calling for the activities of EXIM Bank and Ghana’s export promotion to be realigned to ensure prompt financing in the sector.
Ahenkorah made the call during the launch of the 78th National Exporters Forum of 2017 Non-Traditional Exports Statistics (NTES) and Buyer Portal of the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) market hub.
He, however, said his ministry has taken steps to enable Cabinet and Parliament understand the essence to realign the two institutions for effective and proper export promotional activities.
The minister added that if the activities of EXIM Bank do not support the National Export Strategy (NES), all efforts put into promotional activities by the GEPA might not be carried out in terms of financing.
“The continuous promotion of ‘Ghana’s export promotion’ is meaningless unless we realign the activities of the EXIM Bank to export promotion. Until this is done, we would promote what is in Ghana and would not find that result”, he said.
The MP also stated that the EXIM Bank now operates under the supervision of the Finance Ministry, and not the Ministry of Trade and Industry as previous. It has therefore become increasingly difficult for his ministry to support promotional activities of GEPA.
He was hopeful that come next year, his ministry will make giant strides in merging these institutions to promote growth.
2017 statistical performance
Regarding the headline performer, the Director of Research at GEPA, Mr. Maxwell Osei Kusi stated the total NTE for 2017 amounted to $2.557 billion, representing an increase of 3.81% compared to $2.463 billion earned in 2016.
He added that not all export sectors saw an even growth, but mentioned the total earning of NTE was very paramount to the growth of the economy.
In delivering the 2017 statistical performance of NTEs, Mr. Kusi stated that GEPA has over 400 products which cover four main sectors for export. The sectors were Agri-business, manufacturing, industrial arts and craft and services sectors.
It was revealed that the manufacturing sector is the largest earner in the NTE basket and also the largest contributor of cocoa products namely, cocoa butter, cocoa cake, cocoa liquor, chocolate and spread. This covers both the processing and semi processing sector.
The agricultural sector was identified as the most diverse and strategic sector with over 100 products. The areas, he mentioned, were horticulture, fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and others.
Regarding this sector, the Chief Research Director stated that GEPA was yet to streamline activities in terms of statistics on exports.
“We have not gotten the data on services yet, but we know it is one area that we are to explore and make sure we streamline into the NTE”, he said.
According to him, the areas in this sector include medical tourism, high educational level sector and professional services.
Industrial arts and crafts
Kusi touted that the industrial arts and craft sector are doing well in the NTE. “They are in their prime stages”, he said. This sector includes ceramics, basketry, paintings, sculpture and other craft products.
The National Exporters Forum brings together both exporters and stakeholders to inform them about export activities and programmes in the NTE sector.
By Dundas Whigham