This year’s National Exporters Forum has taken place in Accra, with a call on exporters to position themselves strategically so as to take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area which is expected to come into force in 2018.


The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, who made the call in a key note address delivered on his behalf at the Forum, also urged exporters to take exporter education seriously in order to be abreast of changing international requirements and trends, and to be able to sustain their competitiveness in the export market.


Mr Kyerematen disclosed that the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and other collaborating Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) had developed a three-year Business Regulations Strategy (BRS)which aimed to modernize the quality of Ghana’s Legal/Regulatory Systems to promote faster growth, job creation and economic prosperity.


He said within the broader national economic agenda, BRS aimed to eliminate constraints to economic development, deepen and broaden current reform efforts in order to establish a national regulatory environment that sustainably reduced red tape and barriers and better promoted private sector activity and job creation.


BRS, he explained, was in line with government’s goal of building the most business-friendly and people-friendly economy in Africa which would create jobs and prosperity for all Ghanaians and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision for rapid industrialization to deliver jobs.


Mr Kyerematen, therefore, stressed the need for all exporters to register and renew their export businesses with the Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA) through Ghana’s Trade Hub Single Window Platform, adding that their registration would play a key role in the formulation of programmes by GEPA to support their businesses.


In a statement, Mr Lawrence Agyinsam, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, noted that exports remained the most important element in the successful restructuring of the economy.


Mr Agyinsam stressed the need to revolutionize the raw material base of Ghana and pledged EXIM Bank’s support to that effect.


Mr Sandy Osei Agyeman, Board Chairman, GEPA, in his remarks, pledged the determination of GEPA to lead Ghana to become an export-led economy.


Mr Agyeman called for the structural transformation of the export sector and underscored the importance of quality packaging as well as the use of research work and the establishment of rural freight services to lift produce from the farm gates to storage facilities in the transformational agenda.


Welcoming participants to the Forum, Madam Gifty Kekeli Klenam, CEO, GEPA, noted that Ghana could not take full advantage of regional and multilateral agreements due to the non-existence of its own policy document on export promotion.


In view of that and in furtherance of the National Export Strategy (NES), Madam Klenam said, GEPA had set for itself the objective of increasing the contribution of Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) from the current US $ 2.4 billion to US$10 billion.


She said to achieve the target, GEPA had developed and launched a comprehensive four-year work plan towards the development of identified key priority  products, notable among which were pineapple (smooth cayene variety,) cashew, Shea and yam, with comprehensive sectional intervention programmes and implementable action plans.


The GEPA CEO explained that the work plan formed part of GEPA’s initiatives in response to the dwindling supply base of exportable products, through the development of new and improved seedlings for planting to improve the competitiveness of Ghanaian products in both local and international markets.


Madam Klenam disclosed that to drive the initiative, GEPA had budgeted an amount of Gh¢ 4.2 million to implement the activities of the project, adding that successfully implemented, the project would yield US$ 13,500 in estimated earnings, over a period of 4 to 5 years, resulting in the injection of 15, 000,000 suckers of smooth cayenne pineapple varieties into the system.


Furthermore, she said, GEPA had developed initiatives in other sector value chains such as yam, vegetables, cashew, processes, cocoa and mango, subsequently, that would be rolled out soon.


She said the implementation of the work plans would result in a significant increase in the share of NTEs in total exports as a major step towards the structural transformation of the export sector for spearheading the growth and diversification of the economy and strengthen, and resource export development-related and networks of business development service providers, policies and programmes for providing a well-focused and enhanced support services to enable export businesses to flourish.


In addition, Madam Klenam said, successfully implemented, the project would strengthen global brand position of GEPA to strategically situate it as a world-class export-development and promotion agency, capable of driving the export-led agenda of the government and ensuring that export culture was imbibed nationwide through the provision of training services.


She said a successful implementation of the project would also ensure that every District was able to have, at least, one significant agro-based export product success story through GEPA’s flagship 1 District, 1 Exportable Product policy (1D 1EP Policy) programme which was currently being rolled out in the regions with the support of EXIM bank of Ghana.


The annual National Exporters Forum provides the platform to discuss challenges of mutual interest with stakeholders and members of the export fraternity.


This year’s forum, the 77th   in a series, was organized by GEPA on the theme: “Supporting the Non-Traditional Export Sector for Economic Transformation”.


Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)