Moves To Reduce Pressure On Cedi And Boost Exports

The measures are also intended to transform the weak support mechanism for exporters.

The Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper, announced this when he delivered the mid-year review of the 2015 budget statement and supplementary estimates for the rest of the year.

He explained that the move formed part of measures aimed at changing “our structural and transformational approach”

This comes at a time when the cedi is struggling to hold itself against the major foreign trading currencies, particularly the United States dollar.

Although the local currency seems to have stabilised and presently trading at a low rate of about GH¢ 3.30 to a dollar on the interbank market for instance, analysts fear the situation is unsustainable because of the heavy import of goods into the country.

Ghana EXIM Bank

“Mr Speaker, I am happy to inform this House that in February this year, H.E. the President inaugurated a task force to prepare a road map for the establishment of the Ghana Exim Bank,” Mr Terkper said.

Subsequently, he revealed, “A draft bill has been prepared for consideration by Cabinet and will be submitted to this House in due course. We expect the bank to be operational by 2016 and will help address the challenge of long-term credit for exporters.”

Although many have argued against the establishment of the Exim Bank because of the existence of another body, the Export Development and Agriculture Investment Fund (EDAIF), the finance minister explained that the difference between the two is that unlike EDAIF, the Exim Bank will deal directly with the people in terms of access to loans.

There are allegations that with the present arrangement, the banks, which are issued with cheap loans by EDAIF for on-lending to the farmers and exporters, among others, are not going by the terms and, therefore, the Exim Bank will help bring an end to that practice.

Export-led development strategy
Mr Terkper said in line with the country’s export-led development strategy, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) was supporting the Sea-freight Pineapple Exporters Association (SPEG) to diversify their product range.

He said the ministry was also collaborating with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) to rekindle the interest of local farmers in the Greater Accra and Volta regions in the cultivation of vegetables, while farmers in the Central Region were involved in the cultivation of sugar loaf and smooth cayenne pineapple for export.

“They will also be part of the Komenda sugar factory project that puts the emphasis on local production of sugar,” he added.