Business News of 2014-07-16

Gov’t targets $5 billion export revenue by 2017

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Haruna Idrissu, says there is the need to diversify Ghana's export in order to improve the country's trade deficit, which he says, currently stands at $20 billion.

Mr Idrissu said even though Ghana's export is encouraging, it only holds promise into the future.

He said this Tuesday when he addressed a gathering of Ghanaian business owners and public officials at the second edition of the Graphic-Fidelity Economic Dialogue held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, on the theme, "Maximising the Value of Exports to improve Ghana's Trade Balance".

According to Mr Idrissu, the fact that Ghana's economy is still dependent on the traditional exports such as gold and cocoa is indication that the non-traditional export sector is not doing enough.

He said Ghana's export volume currently stands at 2.4 billion US Dollars as at 2013.

Accordingly the Minister said the Government had launched a national export strategy, as it seeks to double exports from the current 2.4 billion US dollars to about 5 billion US dollars by end of 2015.

He said the government was seeking to establish a non-partisan export advisory council to improve the export growth of the economy.

“I am accordingly advised by President John Dramani Mahama to consider establishing a non-partisan export advisory council which should have former ministers of trade and industry, former chief executives of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) and the Ghana Investment Promotion Authority together with other private sector players to advise government on future opportunities of expanding our exports," he noted.

The Minister said the export advisory council will advise the minister of Trade and Government on how to take advantage of exports opportunities. This, he said comes at a time when government had taken major decisions regarding its trade relations with the European Union.

Mr Iddrisu explained that the preferential trade agreement with the EU will add market access regulation, net physical compensation and other issues of ratification to export sector.

“We have to take advantage of this relationship and build the capacity of Ghanaians for expanded exports, which will improve the foreign exchange regime.”

According to him, it is not enough to keep saying Ghana is peaceful and stable, insisting that the fundamentals of the economy and social and political stability should work together for the development of the country.

“At the end of 2008, our trade deficit, as at 2013 was 20 billion us dollars.” “We have, as a government, accordingly launched the national export strategy which is intending to increase our exports from 2.4 billion US dollars to 5 billion US dollars by end of 2017."

Mr Idrissu went on to add that Ghana had failed to take advantage of the commercial agricultural opportunities, which he said had compelled companies like Blue skies to import pineapples in order to process it for the international market. He said the lack of capacity of indigenous farmers was to blame for this.

He said as part of measures to address this challenge, the government had expanded the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) in order to support more farmers.

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