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Business News of Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Source: GNA

Government to amend EDIF Act to include agriculture

Accra, April 13, GNA - Trade and Industry Minister, Ms Hannah Tetteh said plans were underway to amend the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) Act to include agriculture. "After 10 years of operating the fund, there is the need to review the Act to enable it better serve the needs of the country particularly agriculture," she said.

The Sector Minister was speaking at an Exporters Forum organised by EDIF to examine the challenges facing exporters and educate them on how they could benefit from the fund. Ms Tetteh said the Ghana Standards Board (GSB) had received a nine million Euro grant to upgrade its facilities and infrastructure to enable it carry out test or certified export goods. She said products certified by the GSB stood a good chance on the world market.

The Sector Minister urged the exporters to explore opportunities in new markets, especially China. The Acting Executive Director of EDIF, Mr Agyabeng Antwi-Agyei said EDIF was set up to promote and develop the country's export trade through the provision of credit to exporters at low interest rate to boost their businesses. He said so far the fund had disbursed GH¢164 million covering 231 pr= ojects. Mr Antwi-Agyei urged exporters to take advantage of the comparably low interest rate of 12.5 per cent charged on credit granted under the scheme to boost the country's export. Mr Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister of Food and Agriculture supported the move by government to amend the EDIF Act into an Export Development, Investment and Agricultural Fund (EDAIF) to expand it to finance agriculture.

He expressed the hope that with the amendment small scale farmers could access credit from the EDAIF to expand their farming activities to ensure food sufficiency.

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