GUTA: We need loans to produce goods and export under AfCFTA

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First Vice Chairman of the Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations (GUTA), Mr Clement Boateng has called on the Ghana Government to grant GUTA loans to purchase goods from local factories and export them under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The AfCFTA is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade commencing as of 1 January 2021. It was created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations.

According to the GUTA First Vice Chairman, exporting goods is expensive, adding that as as retailers, they do not have the purchasing strength to purchase goods from the local factories.

He, therefore, underscored the need for government to grant them loans with flexible payment terms and subsidized interest rates so that they can also buy and sell goods to the foreign markets.

The call comes after it was made known that the government had waived import duties on production equipment and raw materials.

The government has waived import duties on imported equipment, machines and raw materials for local manufacturing companies to make them competitive on the global market.

Since 2017, the government has also reduced some taxes, and in some cases completely removed them, provided some critical infrastructure and simplified some trade procedures to boost local production.

The measures are part of a fiscal incentive framework under the Industrial Transformation Programme to empower the private sector to fully harness market opportunities such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speaking with Ekourba Gyasi Simpremu on Atinka TV’s morning show, Ghana Nie, Mr Boateng said,”We are calling on the government to grant us some monies so that we can have enough capital to purchase from the local factories and export.”

He noted that although some of the local manufacturing companies export goods, only few of them have been able to export goods under the AfCFTA.

“If we as retailers have enough capital, we can also purchase some of the goods from the producing factories so that we can also export them,” he said.

“We know that now that interest rate has come down, policy rate is at 14.5 and lending rate is now at 23 percent but it is still on the high side. Botswana is lending at 5 percent, Cote d’Ivoire is lending at 12 percent and Nigeria is lending at 11 percent, why is Ghana lending at 23 to 24 percent? How can we compete with them. Meanwhile, the AfCFTA is for the whole Africa.”

 Ghana|| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori