A national Export Strategy and Development Programme aimed at increasing earnings from the country’s non-traditional exports from the current $2.3 billion to the targeted $5.0 billion annually over the next five years has been inaugurated in Tamale.
Under the strategy, stakeholders would be provided with information on the strategy and strategic outputs, institutional mechanisms and priority products.
A logical framework, monitoring and evaluation plan would also be put in place to help achieve the target. It is also envisaged that Ghana would in the near future be a world-class exporter of competitive products and services.
Under the strategy, 212 districts in the country have been tasked to generate an average of US$ 1.0 billion in non-traditional exports each by 2017 to help achieve the targets.
The Minister of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Mr Haruna Iddrisu, who inaugurated the programme,said exporters would be educated to adhere to minimum standards and quality.
He noted that there were emerging markets for exports that the country must take advantage of.
Mr Iddrisu announced that by the close of this year, Ghana should be able to open trade missions in Turkey, Japan, South Africa and China.
The minister also indicated the intention of the government to develop an Industrial Zones Act to declare some areas in the country as industrial hubs of the country.
The acting Director,Trade and Export Development of the MOTI, Mr Gerald Nyarko-Mensah, said challenges to increasing the country’s exports were the high cost of production, inadequate access to credit facilities, high interest rates, inadequate infrastructure and cumbersome procedures at the various ports in the country.
He, however, noted that the country had a lot of strengths which it could take comparative advantage of.
They include availability of large tracts of land, particularly in the three Northern regions, geographical location of Ghana, human capital and a well-educated workforce.
The Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, noted that the region was blessed with large tracts of fertile land that could be used to improve on the country’s agricultural production and export earnings.
During an open forum, the President of the Northern Fingers Women Farmers Processors and Marketers Association, Hajara Ibrahim Taimako, entreated the government to take measures that would support women to avoid going for loans from micro finance institutions.
By Vincent Amenuveve, Tamale