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20.05.2004 Business & Finance

EDIF launch in Upper east Region

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Bolgatanga, May 20, GNA - The Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), which began operations three years ago, disbursed 225.2 billion cedis as at the end of April this year. Besides, the fund approved grants totalling more than 32.2 billion cedis as at the end of March to support market research, promote and develop products, build capacities, and develop export infrastructure to prop up export trade.

EDIF Board Chairman John Boakye Addae said this on Wednesday when he launched the fund at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region. He said the fund, which was set up by an act of parliament in October 2000, is meant to facilitate rapid growth of export trade. On sources of funding for EDIF, Mr Addae said the fund depends largely on import tariffs collected by CEPS, recoveries and interest paid on government loans and 10 percent of net proceeds from the divestiture of state enterprises.

Mr Addae said the board was working out a deal with the ARB Apex Bank to include rural banks in its list of financial institutions disbursing EDIF loans in order to reach out to more enterprises, especially those in the districts.

He said in a recent review of EDIF operations, it was realized that many enterprises in the Upper East Region are yet to benefit from the fund.

"This may be due to a lack of awareness among the business establishments or their failure to seek EDIF support".

Mr Addae thus urged qualified entrepreneurs in the region to take advantage of opportunities offered by EDIF to expand export trade and increase export revenue for rapid socio-economic development. In a keynote address, Bolgatanga Municipal Chief Executive Rockson Bukari said government was fully behind the establishment of EDIF to "actualise its Golden Age of Business Policy".

Mr Bukari noted that many businesses collapsed in the past because they had no access to government guaranteed loans at reasonable interest rates in the right economic environment.

While urging businesses in the region to organize them to access the fund, the MCE called on EDIF administrators to reduce the bureaucratic bottlenecks that impede its speedy disbursement. Contributors at the function stressed the need for transparency, equal opportunity in the disbursement of funds and decentralizing the operations of the fund.

The Bolga-Naba, Martin Abilba II, commended the organizers for making efforts to educate people in the region on how they could access the fund.

He, however, said more attention should be given to the three Northern Regions in order to boost the high export potentials of their unique traditional handcrafts. 20 May 04

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