The Chief Executive of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, Ms Gifty Kekeli Klenam has called for adequate financial and logistical support from all stakeholders for the Authority to deliver on its export promotion mandate.
Speaking in her first interview since taking over the mantle on her plans for the Authority, Ms Klenam said it was sad the Authority had not been given the necessary attention that it ought to have over the years.
“I must say that though export promotion authority has been the backbone of export in Ghana, the institution has not been given the necessary attention over the years. Activities at the institution have been very slow and management does not seem to have a clear cut direction as to what they are up to and where they are taking the export as a sector,” she said.
She said the team put together by President Akufo-Addo, of which she is the leader, was equal to the task and had begun a programme to restructure the institution and create the necessary departments to make it proactive to the needs of the exporter community.
Ms Klenam, who had served on the trade and industry committee in Parliament for the past eight years, said she got the understanding of how restructuring of export promotion authority was concerned and how to go about it.
Ms Klenam said the restructuring exercise would involve the strengthening of its zonal and regional offices to help grow the production base of export products.
“We’ve been able to put all those departments in place. We’ve been able to hire all those that we need to hire and we’ve kick-started already,” she said.
She said the changes had delighted the staff, who were happy that they would be allowed to put their expertise and experience acquired over the years into practice.
“Almost everybody here has travelled before on trade missions but they sit in Accra. It’s about time we released them to go and build the zones and regions which are the export production bases. We want them to impart their knowledge to the producers and direct them to produce according to the needs of the export market,” she said.
She said the staff would be given clearly defined targets to achieve at every level in order to achieve the larger target of increasing proceeds from NTEs.
On the trade within the West Africa sub-region, she said the ECOWAS market remained a key market for non-traditional exports and that underscored why the President had already taken the lead to visit the Presidents and leadership of the region to promote the country’s trade with them.
There are about 500 different NTE products categorised into agricultural, processed/semi-processed and handicrafts. In 2013, exports of NTEs amounted to $2.44 billion, an increase of 3.05 per cent over the previous year’s earnings of $2.36 billion.
Ms Klenam said the Authority was targeting to grow proceeds in the sector to $10 billion over the next four years through broadening of its activities to attract investors to set up in the country and take advantage of opportunities under international pacts that promoted bilateral trade. – GNA