Preparing the port towards export-led growth

The Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GHPA), Paul Asare Ansah, has observed that all the reforms taking place at the country’s ports – such as infrastructural expansion and development, modernisation of port facilities and the like – are all geared toward creating the right environment for enhancing exports.

The situation wherein the country’s balance of trade is tilted toward imports, with very little revenue coming in by way of exports, creates a balance of trade deficit. To this end, the Director-General explained that GHPA is even prepared to locate the Exim Bank closer to the port community in order to facilitate transactions and allow for a convenient and speedy manner of doing business at the ports.

All this is not in doubtm particularly with port transactions going paperless to reduce the time and cost of doing business there; we are all witnesses to the reforms being undertaken to ensure all bottlenecks are removed.

We believe the new trajectory is long overdue, because from time immemorial the country has always imported more goods than it exports – thus creating a huge trade deficit that is not sustainable. With the Exim Bank established primarily to facilitate export trade, we are left in little doubt that this will greatly enhance activities of exporters by providing them credit to facilitate their business.

The establishment of the Bank is expected to improve the country’s export competitiveness, foreign exchange earnings and balance of trade. Among its specific functions is to facilitate the transformation of Ghana’s economy into an export-driven one; and finance import-substitution efforts and overseas investments while eliminating critical market-failures in the economy – thereby making Ghana competitive in the global market place.

Improving the country’s balance of trade is critical to realising a ‘Ghana beyond aid’, and this will entail deriving more revenue from export trade so that the country’s foreign exchange reserves are healthy and can facilitate international trade without hitches of any kind.

Foreigners have long complained of the red tape and bottlenecks at the country’s ports, which have a tendency to increase the cost and time of doing business at the ports. Now that steps are being taken to remove all the red tape and bottlenecks, we expect a new dispensation of international trade wherein Ghana can be as competitive as other maritime countries and benefit more from international trade.

To this effect, Paul Asare Ansah noted that even though port charges have spiralled, this has not affected exports because of the resolve to encourage export-led growth in the economy.