The task force set up by the government to work on the establishment of a Ghana Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, yesterday presented its report to President John Mahama at the Flagstaff House.
Government announced plans to establish a Ghana Export-Import Bank in its 2015 Budget and Financial Estimates towards the strategic positioning of Ghana as an export-led economy.
When established, the bank will be a vehicle for the consolidation of the current export finance activities of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), Eximguaranty Company and Export Finance Company.
Receiving the report, President Mahama stated that the proposed EXIM Bank would accelerate the drive towards achieving a more diversified economy and an improved capacity to produce goods and services for export.
He said the EXIM bank would also enable the country to take advantage of global initiatives such as America’s African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union to boost its exports.
The Presidnt encouraged the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Ghana Industries, and the Ghana Union of Traders Association to view the Ghana EXIM as an opportunity to buy into government’s export-led growth strategy by adopting measures for their members to complement the nation’s long-standing reliance on miners and cocoa farmers to provide its foreign exchange needs.
“We currently are undergoing a first review of our IMF programme, and trade imbalance has been flagged once again as one of the major flaws in Ghana’s economic progress”, President Mahama explained.
The recent commodity price volatility has shown that the nation does not yet have enough buffers despite additional forex revenues from crude oil,” the President said.
The Ghana EXIM Bank, he stressed, would be an independent institution capable of accessing funds within and outside Ghana using the strength of its balance sheets.
President Mahama indicated that oversight responsibility and operation of the EXIM Bank would be vested in the Ministry of Finance.
To ensure efficiency, Mr. Mahama stated that the EDAIF, EXIMGUARANTY Bank and the Export Finance Company would all be merged into the proposed Ghana EXIM Bank but the Ghana Export Promotion Authority would continue to stand alone, albeit, with an expanded mandate for export promotion and development.
President Mahama indicated that the report would be placed before Cabinet for discussion and commended the taskforce for their work.
Mr. Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, noted that the EXIM Bank followed the establishment of the Ghana Infrastructure Fund, saying that it formed part of structures being put in place to strengthen the long-term prospects of the economy.
Mr. Steve Williams, Chairman of the Task force said the committee looked at EXIMs in both emerging and the OECD economies and had come out with the report, which he believes would stand the test of time.
When implemented, he said the recommendations of the committee would go a long way to solving some of the structural issues the country is faced with.
By Samuel Nuamah