Business News of 2014-01-15

New board to manage EDAIF inaugurated

A 13-member board of directors has been inaugurated to oversee the disbursement of the new Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF).

The board would manage the fund through the new amended legislation that expanded the mandate of the fund beyond export trade.

Chaired by Professor Richard Bani, the board is expected to improve the capacity of Ghanaian businesses, as well as increase support for the agricultural sector.

It is also expected to give more technical support, particularly, through grant to other state institutions.

Background

The Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) was established by the Export Development and Investment Fund Act 2000 (Act 582).

It became operational in 2001 as an agency of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The fund was initially to provide financial resources for the development and promotion of export trade by helping to reduce dependence on assistance from development partners.

The act was, however, amended in 2001 to expand the scope of the application of the fund to include the development and promotion of the agro-processing industry, hence the change of the name of the fund to EDAIF.

Minister’s address

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Accra, the Minister of Trade, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stressed the need for the board, as an immediate measure, to reduce bureaucracy and the cumbersome process of accessing loans from the fund.

“Sometimes, people are made to fill 12 to 24 pages of documents in order to access EDAIF credit, but in the world of technology, you should be able to reduce it,” he charged.

Mr Iddrisu said as part of the major policy initiative being implemented by the government, it was expected that the board would provide support for the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund (YEF) to help grow young entrepreneurs in the country.

“We expect that you put in stringent measures of monitoring whatever disbursement you give, but you must provide funding, particularly, for the development of small and medium enterprises,” he said

Mr Iddrisu also urged them to support the pharmaceutical industry, saying; “If they are able to manufacture, probably they will be able to export, so you must now move beyond export finance and export trade into supporting export-related manufacturing.”

He pledged the government and the ministry’s commitment to support the private sector.

He said it was expected that poultry and its related activities would receive the attention of the board.

Chairman’s address

In his remarks, the chairman of the board, thanked the ministry and the government for reposing confidence in them.

He said the board would bring its collective expertise to bear on its work to ensure that the objective for which the fund was set up was met.