The Ghana Export and Import Bank (EximBank) has held a day's 'open market' for local Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) as part of its vision to cut down on importation of foreign goods.
The event which brought together about 40 entrepreneurs mainly in the food and clothing value chain showcased indigenous products packaged, processed or ready to serve to prospective buyers.
Products on display ranged from assorted rice, poultry, fish, vegetables, cereals, skin and hair merchandise and locally made fabrics among others.
Head of Corporate Affairs of the Bank, Richard Osei Anane in an interview explained that the initiative was to provide clients of the bank in the SME sector a common platform to showcase their goods to the public as means of encouraging the patronage of "Made in Ghana" products.
"As a bank, we are focused on exploring every opportunity that will give leverage to local production for consumption to reduce high importation of goods we can produce in this country so, this is an add-on to other interventions we have rolled out to provide a one-stop shop for clients to showcase the kind of quality products we produce here in Ghana," he said.
According to Mr Anane, the bank from the beginning of the year had held series of such events to drum home the need for Ghanaians to consume locally produced goods for economic growth.
He said "It is only when we have such change in attitude that we can reduce the high import bills, it will put less pressure on the cedi and keeps our people in business, to grow the economy."
"Besides most of what we produce like the rice we grow here are more nutritious than what we buy from outside and as a bank, we are determined to push that agenda to ensure Ghana rakes in good foreign exchange to support our development agenda," he stated.
Lauding the clarion call for the consumption of local rice in recent times, Mr Anane maintained it was the way to go to grow the industry while expanding the Ghanaian economy.
"There have been concern about quality but when we consume it the more, they will be forced to improve on the quality of some of the brands rather than importing which is at a loss to the country."
Mr Anane urged government to consider the prospects in the rice production value chain and commercialise the sector to meet the high demands.
"What we need to do is to look at the supply chain to ensure we are able to produce enough for the market. There should be the provision of good rates, large scale production instead of the small acres of land by peasant farmers, capital among other mechanisms in place to ensure that producers meet demand."
"For EximBank, we will continue to support the production sector so that we can export more than we import to support government's effort at building a self-sufficient economy and a Ghana beyond aid," he maintained.