Business News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has charged the Ghana Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) to play a pivotal role in changing the structure of the country’s economy by making it more export led.
That, he said, was to help the government implement its flagship initiatives, such as the one-district, one-factory programme.
Mr Ofori-Atta made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of the Board of Directors of the Ghana EXIM Bank in Accra yesterday.
He urged the board to focus on non-traditional export products such as poultry, cassava, cashew, oil palm and pharmaceuticals which had the potential to facilitate the government’s export trade and enhance socio-economic development.
He reiterated the fact that the government’s district industrialisation programme — one-district, one-factory — was geared towards providing social and economic development at the local level and it would also help provide the needed jobs for the rural communities.
“The government expects the board to come up with prudent policies and programmes that will ensure that exporters are well resourced; be it financing exportable products and services, so that the nation can reap appreciable foreign exchange from the sector,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Attah observed that successive governments had made a lot of effort to harness the full potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enable them to play the expected role in the transformation of the economy.
“One of these interventions was the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF). Despite the introduction of various policy reforms and interventions, they did not adequately address the funding gaps facing SMEs and the export community,” he said.
He explained that the potential of SMEs and the benefits associated with export trade were yet to be fully harnessed.
“These challenges have necessitated the strategic move to establish the EXIM Bank,” he said.
The Ghana EXIM Bank was set up by an Act of Parliament, Act 911, in 2016 to help support and develop directly or indirectly trade between Ghana and other countries and build the country’s capacity and competitiveness on the international marketplace.
The minister said in order for the bank to operationalise and implement its core mandate, a competent board was needed to provide broad policy framework and guidelines for its effective and efficient management.
In his response, the Chairman of the board, Mr Kwadwo Boateng Gyenfi, expressed the appreciation of the members to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the confidence reposed in them.
“I wish to assure President Akufo-Addo that my team and I will judiciously execute the mandate entrusted to us and also ensure that the bank’s mandate is carried out,” he said.
Mr Gyenfi, an astute businessman, said the board would, as a matter of policy, explore, maintain and deepen business relationships with other EXIM banks, including the India EXIM Bank, the Africa Export-Import Bank, the China Exim Bank, among other such financial institutions.
The other members of the board are Mr Lawrence Agyinsam, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana EXIM Bank; Mr Ofosu A. Tetteh-Kujorjie, representing the Ministry of Finance; Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsey, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, and Dr Johnson P. Asiama, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
The rest are Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, the President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Mr Peter Kwame Abebrese and Madam Catherine Quaidoo, both representatives of the President.