Friday, June 9, 2017

GEPA leads talks on ‘One District, One Export products’

 The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) is in serious talks with all the 216 districts assemblies to identify exportable products within their localities, as part of measures to boost non-traditional exports.
Ms. Gifty Klenam, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) told the B&FT in an interview “letters have been distributed to the various regional authorities to consider “one district, one export products,” thus each district identifying an exportable portable product that can be facilitated as an export oriented commodity to ensure a true sustainable exports. This is basically to ensure the acceleration of export at the district level.”

Ms. Klenam told the paper that as a first step, GEPA would hold sensitisation meetings with the officials of all Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies, including members of Parliament, across the country to see how they could move forward with the programme.

“We believe that each district can identify one exportable product, which GEPA could facilitate as an export-oriented commodity just to ensure that the sustainability of export is real,” she said. 

Ms. Klenam indicated that as much as the Strategy is targeting production for exports, the produce could be used for value addition to support and strengthen the raw material base for the factories that would spring up under the ‘One District, One Factory Programme’

“We believe that it is not all the produce that we’ll be used for exports, it can also be used for the value addition to ensure that the raw material base is strengthened for the factories,” she said. 

Mr. Eric Amoako Twum, the Deputy Chief Executive, said there is no conflict between the government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ and what GEPA is doing under the National Export Strategy (NES)   which the districts had been tasked to identify a product they have competitive advantage to produce for export.

“What we are going to do is to have a conversation with the officials of the various districts plus the Members of Parliament to agree on a framework of those exportable products, which invariably will lead to servicing the one district one factory,” he said.

Mr. Twum said GEPA would serve as the facilitation authority to support the districts in areas such as market access, packaging and quality related information.

He said GEPA’s move was to create a collaborative framework in each district and not limiting them to one product but also supports individuals who have unique products to export.

Mr. Twum noted that already 11 projects teams had been set up to concentrate the 11 priority products identified, adding that there would be first time support to the various districts when it comes to the products.

He said other measures to boost NTEs included setting up regional offices in all the 10 regions of the country, the establishment of technical services teams to offer real-time technical advice and support to farmers, producers and exporters.

The implementation of the National Export Strategy (NES) would be dovetailed into the government’s one district, one factory programme to help accelerate exports at the district level.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised the establishment of “One District, One Factory” as a sustainable means to open up the rural economy through massive rural industrialisation and to create the much-needed jobs for the youth.

About 150 proposals have so far been received from both foreign and local investors keen on partnering government in its proposed plans to establish a factory in each of the 216 districts in the country.

The Trade and Industry Ministry envisages the cost of each project to range between US$1million and US$5million.

“If we are talking about replacing imports by exporting and job-creation, then obviously, size and scale become important.  Why do we want to limit our own potential? So this is the average size of investment we are looking at,” Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen said.

However, in specific cases, particularly for existing companies that are being adopted, Mr. Kyerematen said it is possible that all that is required may be between “US$200,000 and US$500,000 because there is an already existing investment in place.”

“So, this is a comprehensive program to make sure that the districts enterprise project becomes successful. So, with or without government equity, there is still extensive support from government that will be coming to the promoter,” he added.

He added that additional government contribution will be provided to each project in the form of infrastructural support, roads, extension of energy and other utilities. It also includes tax incentives, subsidies and facilitating access to credit for investors.

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