The Export Import Bank of the United States (EXIM US) has made available a $300 million credit to support companies operating under the One-district, One-factory (1D1F) programme.
Under the deal, EXIM US will advance loans through the Ghana Export Import Bank (GEXIM) to the companies for the purchase of machinery and other equipment from the United States for their manufacturing activities.
The money will be disbursed to the companies through a lending structure developed by the GEXIM and the US EXIM.
Each industrial establishment or prospective company will access up to $10 million.
Change in industrial landscape
At the exchange of the cooperation framework on the agreement between the GEXIM and the US EXIM in Accra yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, described the deal as a historic one which would change Ghana's industrial landscape.
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He said it would enable the operators in the export sector to procure machinery from the US and retool and operate efficiently.
He noted that with the availability of the money, industrialists in the country would be in a better position to take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).
Mr Ofori-Atta disclosed that currently, food imports into the country alone totalled $2.4 billion annually and added that the initiative would help replace imports with domestic production of food and other items.
"The facility will show government's commitment to the One-District, One-Factory programme.
The country has not seen an intervention of such nature for the private sector.
This is a necessary intervention to boost the President's vision to make the economy an industrialised one,"he said.
The Finance Minister said the country had challenges regarding its foreign exchange stability because it imported everything, including toothpick, and emphasised the need to engage in production and turn Ghanaians into entrepreneurs and manufacturers instead of traders.
Mr Ofori-Atta painted a positive picture of the economy in the last two years and said prudent management of the production and consumption of goods and services had led to stabilisation.
What was needed now, he added, was financing, technology and good economic advice to achieve growth.
He said the government would work extremely hard to achieve the economic growth the country needed.
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, said Ghana could not achieve the desired economic growth and create wealth if it did not add value to its exports.
One of the ways to ensure value addition and the creation of wealth, he said, was to build factories in districts as was being done under the 1D1F.
He said one key challenge to value addition was the provision of cutting-edge technology, adding that the provision of technology and technical know-how from the US would boost industrialisation and business in Ghana and establish a solid framework of cooperation between the US EXIM and its Ghanaian counterpart.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, in her remarks, observed that most companies in the country found it difficult to obtain credit at affordable rates with realistic payment terms to expand their businesses.
The agreement between GEXIM and the EXIM US, she said, provided an opportunity for Ghanaian companies to secure financing at competitive rates.
"This means companies can grow, become more competitive, employ more workers and pay more taxes to finance development,” she said.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the GEXIM, Mr Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, said he was hopeful that private sector clients would be in a position, after accessing the facility, to create jobs, increase exports and help industrialise the Ghanaian economy.