Trade facilitation is a cornerstone of government’s agenda -Minister

Accra, Government will fully capitalise on the implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation agreement to develop a truly open, transparent and dynamic trading economy, Mr Alan Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry has said.

Speaking at a conference on the Ghana National Single Window programme and the WTO Trade Facilitation agreement, Mr Kyeremanten said government would redouble efforts in export development and use the advent of the WTO Agreement to develop new market opportunities and support programmes for traders.

Trade facilitation is a cornerstone of the government’s trade and economic development agenda. We believe it will greatly assist Ghana in reaching our full potential as a leading trading nation, both regionally and globally, and that this in turn will create strong earnings and employment growth within the country, he said.

Ghana is one of the original signatories to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which had come into force.

WTO estimates that the agreement will generate more than one trillion dollars in benefits annually and that the majority of these benefits would accrue to developing economies.

Mr Kyeremanten said the introduction of the Ghana National Single Window was facilitating the ease with which the country’s companies compete in global and regional markets.

It reduces the time and cost of trading across borders and ensures predictability in delivering goods to markets and also promotes transparency and enhances government revenue mobilisation through increased compliance and enhanced economic performance, he said.

Mr Kyeremanten said the developments were all part of the government’s ambition to fundamentally change the way ‘we work with and regulate international businesses in Ghana by providing an enhanced business regulatory environment.’

He said the government would eliminate all unnecessary processes, simplify and harmonise the rest, and deliver a fully integrated and automated all-of-government services to our partners in economic development-the Ghanaian business community.

Mr Kyeremanten said as the Ghana National Single Window project unfolded over the next three years, government expect to achieve an overall reduction in the administrative time and cost of trading internationally by 50 per cent to 25 per cent.

In addition to the positive impact on competitiveness and employment growth, he said the achievement would make Ghana more attractive to foreign investment as transparency, predictability; time and cost were the key factors in the location decisions of export oriented businesses.

Indeed, I see the combination of the enhanced trade facilitation and trade development programmes as a dynamic synergy for the economic development of our country and I believe that the Ghana National Single Window Programme will play a major role in realising the economic benefit of this synergy, Mr Kyeremanten said.

He lauded the inclusion of Single Window in the Trade Facilitation Agreement and said it would help implement many of the measures in this Agreement, through the simplification of trade procedures, the provision of trade related information, the enhancement of co-operation between related government agencies, and the implementation of international standards.

Ms Valentina Mintah, Chief Executive Officer of WestBlue Consulting, said a lot of progress had been made since December 2015 when the Ghana Single Window programme came on board.

She said it had tremendously helped to reduce the cost and time of doing business in Ghana and make trade easier but there was still a long way to go and urged government to implement all the agreements in WTO Facilitation Agreement to position Ghana as the leading hub in the sub-region.

The two-day conference is being organised by Westblue Consulting in collaboration with Ghana International Chamber of Commerce, under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Source: Ghana News Agency

   

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