ACCRA, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Carlos Ahenkorah has urged the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) to take decisive action to deal with current difficulties faced by the export sector to enhance growth.

Speaking at a three-day retreat to strategies on effective service delivery for the agency over the weekend, he said the many obstacles to exports, including the multiplicity of inspections by various government bodies and a ban on vegetable and fruit exports to the European Union (EU), must be addressed expeditiously to boost exports.

As I speak, the EU has banned importation of vegetables and fruits to the EU. They have come twice to assess and we have lost and they are coming again in September, hesaid, while urging the GEPA to help overcome the problem.

Ahenkorah said the Ministry of Trade and Industry had approached the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which was responsible for the agency checking fruit and vegetable exports, to up their game because it was very demeaning for the country to have its exports returned.

Very soon, we will proactively get the problems resolved, he said, adding that the GEPA must use its authority.

The retreat, attended by senior management of GEPA and key strategic partners, sought to initiate a consultative process on avenues of support from partners, development of an annual action plan, and redesigning of various value chains. It also sought to identify priorities and actions needed to enable the planning of a streamlined and cost effective service position for GEPA in the implementation of the National Export Strategy.

Ahenkorah said the GEPA must be able to stamp its authority on developments within the export sector. He called on it to gather the facilitators of exports to come out with the challenges they face so that they could be addressed holistically.

He said exports was the only way to reduce the balance of payment deficit that the country had been suffering and also to help reduce the pressure on foreign exchange reserves.

Ahenkorah said the Ministry was going to lead a discussion with stakeholders to review new developments such as the continental Free Trade area, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union and its Common External Preferential Tariff and how to position GEPA to be able to tap into the benefits of these programmes.