Steering Committee inaugurated to implement National Export Strategy

Government has stepped up efforts to reverse the country’s over-reliance on imports – a phenomenon said to be one of the key reasons for the country’s economic woes.

A 14-member Steering Committee chaired by the Trade Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah has been inaugurated to implement the National Export Strategy.

The strategy seeks to diversify Ghana’s exports by increasing the share of Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs) by 35% within the next five years – that’s from 1.5 billion dollars to 5billion. According to Dr. Spio Garbrah the strategy presents the country an opportunity to turn its economic fortunes around.

The strategy was launched in Tamale in 2013 where it was announced that the implementation would be by means of the National Export Development Programme (NEDP).

Dr. Spio Garbrah who doubles as chairman of the committee, indicated that there are a myriad of resources in the country which may be visible but they do add up to the overall GDP and often to the per capita income of the country.

The country’s heavy reliance on imports is according the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the biggest challenge impeding efforts by both monetary and fiscal policymakers to stabilise the Cedi against major trading currencies.

The BoG said despite the country’s trade deficit narrowing significantly to US$156.6 million from January to May 2014, compared with a deficit of US$990.8 million in the corresponding period of 2013, the continued reliance on imports , which reached US$6billion for the first five months of the year, is worrying.

The programme, if successful, could present the country with a very robust national Export agenda and a National Export Strategy with which to help the nation generate more than it currently does.

Listen to Dr Spio Garbrah below:
Technical advisor of the committee Gerald Nyarko-Mensah said the key objectives of the strategy are to:

Provide a significant increase in the share of Non Traditional Exports as a major step towards a total transformation of the export sector.

Provide resources for export development related institutions in the network of -business development  service providers – AGI, Chamber of Commerce, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, GIPC, Freezones, etc.

To decentralize and restructure export business which is currently skewed towards the south and urban nodes, across the country.

Mr. Nyarko-Mensah elucidated that some of the products with high growth potential such as cocoa paste, canned tuna products from aqua culture activities will be the focus, as well as shea butter, cashew, palm nut, vegetable oils, etc.

He added that cultivation of horticultural produce such as pineapples, mangoes and chillies, as well as root crops like yam will also be enhanced to boost exports, not forgetting the creative arts, with emphasis on handicrafts and processed gold. The services sector would also advance medical tourism with emphasis on education and business process outsourcing.

The budget for the task over the 5-year period is $600million.

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