Local industries need support to boost export drive

BY: Daily Graphic

Exports make critical contributions to the economies of nations and, therefore, most governments make export promotion and development a priority to achieve certain economic development goals.

They do this, bearing in mind the fact that by raising the level of exports, additional foreign exchange is generated to facilitate the purchase of goods and services that cannot be produced in their countries.

Again, growth in a country’s exports can lead to greater production efficiency, since local industries strive to produce to meet international standards.

Moreover, the foreign currency raised through exports help countries service external debts, thereby curbing excessive borrowing.

The disclosure made in a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Trade, Mr Alan Kyerematen, that Ghana had increased its total export earnings from $10.61 billion in 2016 to $14.87 billion in 2018 is refreshing news.

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Mr Kyerematen disclosed at a workshop in Ada yesterday to review the national export strategy that Ghana recorded a trade surplus of $1.7 billion in 2018.

This development is, indeed, good news, taking into consideration the numerous advantages of exporting, particularly for a growing economy such as Ghana’s.

We reckon that increased exports will also leverage the country’s flagship policy, One-district, One-factory (1D1F), and will attract investors, as they will be assured of export opportunities for their products.

Multiple markets will allow the 1D1F companies to diversify their businesses.

Companies will also become competitive in the domestic market and this will help them acquire strategies that can help them in the international arena.

An increased number of investors under the 1D1F programme and the expansion of companies as a result of increased sales will lead to job creation, increased incomes and improved standard of living for Ghanaians.

While celebrating our success, we should not forget to focus on the areas where we are under-performing.

We note that the export trade surplus is mainly attributable to the oil sector and that, unfortunately, our non-traditional exports (NTEs) are not performing as expected.

In the NTE sector, we recorded a marginal increase, with earnings increasing from $2.46 billion in 2016 to $2.65 billion in 2017.

That, indeed, is "quite meagre” and the need to leverage initiatives to make NTEs more competitive to achieve estimated annual targets that will shore up the foreign exchange reserve is glaring.

The Daily Graphic commends the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) for reviewing the National Export Strategy to realign it with the government’s agenda for industrial transformation to increase revenue from NTEs.

This will help develop, diversify and promote the country’s NTEs and we urge players in that sector not to relent in their efforts, in spite of the challenges they may be facing.

Ghana must take the steps necessary, including providing incentives for local manufacturers, to increase and improve production for export.

For it is only when local industries are assisted to stand on their feet that they will be able to sustain the achievements in export trade in order to gain its share from the huge international marketplace.