Ghanaian exporters have been asked to make aggressive push towards exploiting international market opportunities to grow and expand their businesses.
Mr. Mark Badu-Aboagye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), indicated that this was vital to bring in more foreign exchange and reduce pressure on the local currency – the cedi.
He made the call at a sensitization workshop held in Kumasi on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - a non-reciprocal trade initiative of the United States (US) Government, which provides duty-free and quota-free treatment to a wide range of products from sub-Saharan African to the US market.
The programme was jointly organized by the Chamber, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and West Africa Trade and Investment Hub.
It provided the platform to educate exporters on the need to make sure that their products met quality standards and acceptable pricing.
Mr. Badu-Aboagye asked that they took advantage of the removal of tariffs from over 6,400 exportable products entering the US market from sub-Saharan Africa to increase their exports to that country.
He said the current situation where the nation was exporting less than 100 products under AGOA – mainly foodstuffs, apparel, shoes and leatherworks needed to radically improve.
He said the Chamber was eager to see significant rise in Ghana’s export revenue within the next five years – export revenue overtake import bill.
“We are now going to produce, consume locally and export more to increase our foreign exchange”, he added.
That, he said, was the way forward to speed up the nation’s industrialization, by adding value to raw materials for export.
Mr. Badu-Aboagye made reference to countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Angola and Lesotho, which were generating more foreign income under AGOA and encouraged the exporters to grab the opportunity.
Mr. Mamuda Osman, Ashanti Regional Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, announced the launch of a national export strategy to increase exportable products under the trade Act.
It involves aiding each district to specialize in at least one exportable commodity.
He gave the assurance that the Ministry would continue to liaise with the private sector to develop strategies that would enable industry players to exploit available opportunities.
Dr. Mohammed Abou-iiana, a Senior AGOA Specialist, counselled exporters to research into products before they exported them.
They should also be familiar with the international trade.