GEPC to promote exports of petroleum derivatives, Tuesday, August 3, 2010, pg 29

THE Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) is to add petroleum derivatives to its portfolio of products for export.

Petroleum derivatives are by-products of petroleum  which include bitumen, thylene, polypropylene, benzene, methanol and butane.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GEPC, Mr Kwadwo Owusu who made this known at the  re-launch  and re-branding of the GEPC last Friday  said the move was necessary to ensure that Ghanaians were the ultimate beneficiaries of the proceeds from the oil and gas sector.

The re-branding and re-launch which was on the theme: “Providing World Class Export Development and Promotion solutions “was to make the council more attractive and to ultimately ensure that it achieved the US $5 billion target for  non-traditional Exports (NTEs) by 2015.

The occassion was also used to launch the 20th Exporters Award which sought to honour exporters in the country.

Horticultural products, fruits and  vegetables, spices, nuts, handicrafts are all  categorised as non-traditional exports.

The GEPC was established in 1969 as an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) to develop and  champion Ghanaians exports.

Since its establishment, it focus has primarily been to diversify Ghana’s export base from the traditional export products of gold, cocoa beans, timber logs and lumber and electricity.

According to statistics from the GEPC the country  grossed 400 million dollars from the export of  non-traditional exports between January and March this year representing a third more than what was earned for the same period in 2009.

Of the about 400 different products that were exported, cocoa paste  topped the list earning US$ 132 million dollars.

Most of the earnings in the first quarter, however, came from processed and semi-processed goods, handicrafts agriculture products.

Mr Owusu noted that as part of the reforms to reposition the GEPC, all exporters would be required to renew their license on yearly basis to ensure that quacks in the sector .
id not take advantage of the non-regulated export market from undertaking any business activity the council did not approve.

“GEPC is repositioned to continually provide world class export development and promotion solutions to the export community. It is for this reason that, there have been changes within the organisation to improve services.” He stated.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh, in a keynote address read on her behalf said the re-branding and re-launch was an opportunity for the GEPC to push forward the country’s development agenda.

She said the establishment of the council was to prevent the situation where price fluctuations in the country’s traditional export products did not lead to shocks that destabilised the economy.

She bemoaned the current situation that left the NTE sector trailing in revenue targets because of constraints including supply and some problems of meeting international standard.

Ms Tetteh urged the GEPC to redouble its efforts of achieving the US$ 5 billion revenue target  by 2015 to help realise the country’s growth agenda.

The  Chairman of the GEPC Governing Council, Mr Kobina Ade Coker, who chaired the function asked that two per cent of the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) be set aside to help resource the GEPC sufficiently and “place it in a better position to support our esteemed exporters to diversify markets and products off set such negative impacts in the markets.”

He added that nations that thrived on export success did so using sustainable funding sources adding that an export policy to regulate the country’s export sector was at the draft stage.

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