The Ministry of Trade and Industry is to introduce new export incentives to boost the export of non-traditional products.
The incentives, such as less tax or tax exemptions on locally produced goods, legal and regulatory allowances, are to encourage domestic companies to export local goods or services in order to keep domestic products competitive on the global market.
The sector minister, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, made this known when the ministry took its turn at the meet-the-press series organised by the Ministry of Communications in Accra on Wednesday.
The ministry, he added, would ensure the aggressive implementation of the national export strategy which focused on the non-traditional exports sector and the national export development programme whose objective was to enhance the quality of export products and compliance with global market requirements through investment in relevant technologies, trained manpower and effective relationships with quality assurance institutions.
The overall objective of the two policies, he said, was to develop the potential of the non-traditional export sector in order to achieve a strategic growth target of US$5 billion within five years of its implementation.
All those initiatives, which he said were part of the outlook of the ministry for 2016, were being implemented to ensure a vibrant export sector, especially in the non-traditional export sub-sector.
He said as part of activities the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) had trained 1,120 horticultural farmers in good agricultural practices and export quality management as a way of addressing the temporary ban on certain horticultural products to the EU market.
It had also trained 1,750 groundnut farmers in the prevention of aflotoxin to facilitate their efforts to access the EU market.
Another group of 240 craftsmen, he said, had been trained on export quality management with the view of improving product quality and productivity.
Additionally, 714 exporters had been given advisory services to enhance their operational capacities.
Giving an overview of the work of the ministry during the last one year, Dr Spio-Garbrah said the ministry had initiated work on a number of policies directed towards enhancing the country’s trade and industry position, transform businesses and enterprises, create jobs and improve on livelihoods.
Some of them are the consumer protection policy, the made-in-Ghana goods and services policy, the national sugar policy, the national quality policy, the competition policy and the intellectual property rights (IPR) policy and strategy.
In the area of trade development, the minister said Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Benin and Niger were effectively implementing the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) intended to facilitate free trade and create a uniform regime of customs and related charges to help address the problem of cross-border smuggling, combat dumping as well as bring economic benefits to the sub-region.
On the West Africa-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Dr Spio-Garbrah reaffirmed the government’s commitment to take every necessary step to protect the commodities of exporters into the EU within the framework of the agreement.
Also, he said a web-based product gallery which was currently hosting products from 910 small and medium enterprises, comprising 713 manufacturers and 197 service providers, had been developed to provide a platform for Ghanaian micro, small and medium enterprises to exhibit their products on the world wide web (www).
Access to credit
The ministry, Dr Spio-Garbrah said, was also implementing activities which would lead to the establishment of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCE) which was expected to provide an efficient, orderly and transparent market for mostly agricultural commodities in the country.
In the area of access to credit, Dr Spio-Garbrah said the Export Development Agricultural and Industrial Fund (EDAIF) board had approved a total amount of GH¢152.6 million for 75 projects.
The government, he said, through the EXIM Bank of India, approved an amount of US$35 million for the establishment of a sugar factory at Komenda in the Central Region, which was 96 per cent complete, to produce 15,000 metric tonnes of sugar every year.
A second tranche of US$24.5 million, which was yet to be accessed, would be used to set up a sugarcane plantation and irrigation facilities to produce raw materials to feed the factory.