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31.05.2007 Business & Finance

Non-Traditional Export Gets Boost

The Government increased its support to the non-traditional export sector from ¢86.8 billion in 2002 to ¢178.2 billion in 2006.

The support, which was one of the interventions adopted for the private sector, was provided through the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF).

This was made known by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and the President's Special Initiative (PSI), Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, at an annual forum on “Financing Opportunities for Export Trade” which was organised by the Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) in Accra.

Mr Asiedu said the export sector held the future of the country's economy, adding that annual income from non-traditional export increased from US$400 in early 2000 to US$893 million in 2006.

“The non-traditional export sector and indeed the export sector as a whole provides a lot of good prospects for the future if we continue to give it the right stimuli in terms of price, quality and meeting delivery schedules.”

He said other interventions which the government had put in place to help the sector were the establishment of a new Venture Capital Fund which was currently capitalised at more than US$22 million to provide access to medium and long-term finance.

He also mentioned the existence of a US$80 million Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Project to provide access to medium and long-term financial support to the private sector.

Other financial schemes, Mr Asiedu said, included the Micro-Credit and Small Loans (MASLOC), Support Programme for Enterprise Empowerment and Development (SPEED), Exim-Guaranty and Ghana-Italian Private Sector Development Fund.

He said given the small size of the Ghanaian domestic market, the export sector provided the best option for optimising the production possibilities and a quicker way of integrating the country into the global economy and, therefore, called on all stakeholders to do their best.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Paul A. Acquah, said available data suggested that Ghana's economy remained resilient even in the wake of the energy crisis.

He said the government would continue to enhance the legal and regulatory environment, as well as pursue infrastructure development to support innovation and stability in the financial services industry.

Dr Acquah recalled that as part of the measures, a new Foreign Exchange Law had been passed recently to overhaul the Exchange Control Act and remove the uncertainties about the rules governing transactions in the exchange market.

“The law also simplifies the documentation and approval procedures that burdened the system under the Exchange Control Act, thereby liberalising the exchange and payment system and effectively opening up the economy to the global markets,” he stated.

He explained that with the new law, the ceiling on cash that residents and non-residents could carry to undertake purchases abroad had been raised to US$10,000.

On the re-denomination of the cedi, Dr Acquah said the exercise aimed at improving the role of the cedi as a means of exchange as an integral part of reforming the payment systems in Ghana.