Business News of 2014-06-11

Fidelity export desk targets non-traditional exports

Fidelity Bank has set up an export desk at the bank to provide dedicated service to exporters in the country.
The aim is to increase the capacity of exporters, especially non-traditional exporters (NTEs) and also provide the much- needed finance to push their activities.
The country has a national strategy to reach US$5 billion from non-traditional exports by 2017, which the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is implementing with the support of the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF).
The Head of Export at Fidelity Bank, Mr Bright Darko, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on May 28 at the 75th National Exporters Forum organised by the GEPA in Accra, that supporting exporters to increase capacity and proceeds was imperative considering that out of the more than 3,000 exporters in the country, the top 20 alone contributed 60 per cent of non-traditional export earnings in the country.
“So we need to build their capacity. We also have pre-approved product papers which the exporters can fall on to do their business,” Mr Darko said.
The bank, in collaboration with the GEPA and EDAIF, is organising an exporters summit in Accra, the first of its kind on June 24 to sensitise exporters on details of the offer and how they can leverage it.
Even before then, Fidelity Bank gave the exporters a foretaste of the package at the exporters forum.
It included a Fidelity Export Bonus Account, which attracted no cost of transaction, came with free cheque book, as well as the use of concessionary exchange rate to convert export earnings into cedis.
The bank said it had its own funds to support export trade but would also administer credit from EDAIF, the special purpose export finance vehicle.
Mr Darko said after the Accra summit, the bank would also travel to Kumasi, Takoradi and the northern part of the country for similar exercises to create awareness.
The acting Chief Executive Officer of the GEPA, Mr Gideon Boye Quarcoo, in an interview said although EDAIF was saddled with a lot of requests, it was finding ways to deal with the situation to help exporters in the short term.
“EDAIF has a linkage with the banks for lending which is working pretty well and it is expanding the list of banks. There are also situations where EDAIF can give grants or direct lending to some specific cases, after due diligence,” he said.
However, in the long term, “we need to go beyond EDAIF,” he stressed, as he expressed his satisfaction about the emergence of new financing arrangements by banks such as Fidelity and Universal Merchant Bank, as well as other equity funding institutions.
“It is, therefore, very heart-warming that we have a number of financial institutions coming forth to help. The Fidelity Bank programme is interesting and Universal Merchant Bank, which used to do that, is still in the picture. We understand other banks are also coming on board,” Mr Quarcoo stated.