May 22, 2017
United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has commended Ghana for its progress on trade facilitation.
According to the UN Conference, Ghana’s experience as a trailblazer on trade facilitation can serve as a model for the sub-region.
Mukhisa Kituyi, UNCTAD’s Secretary General, made this known during the Ghana National Conference on the Single Window and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement organised by West Blue Consulting.
Ghana is one of the frontrunners in the region implementing the single window system, spearheaded by West Blue Consulting in collaboration with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Mr. Kituyi said the implementation of trade facilitation reforms, in areas like the single window, is key for strengthening regional integration in Africa and is in itself an inescapable must-have for the continent’s efforts to boost intra-African trade, increase productive capacities and structural transformation for sustainable development.
“An efficient and effective customs administration is at the heart of any trade facilitation reform. I commend Ghana for its progress on trade facilitation”, he said.
Dr. Kituyi also called for the sharing of regional experiences and highlighted the value in learning from the ECOWAS case.
“As had been seen in East and Southern Africa, the top down approach could only go so far, said Dr. Kituyi, adding that “bottom-up efforts and national leadership, particularly in cooperation with the private sector, are needed and go much farther in driving a meaningful locally owned regional integration agenda”, he said.
Ghana is one of the original signatories to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which came into force recently.
The WTO estimates that the Agreement will generate more than a trillion dollars in benefits annually and that the majority of these benefits will accrue to developing economies.
Phase II Of Ghana Single Window
The implementation of the second phase of the Single Window in Ghana is expected to reduce time and cost of trade related procedures by 50 percent resulting in annual savings of over US$ 120 million.
Alan Kyeremanteng, Minister of Trade and Industry was the keynote speaker at the Ghana National Single Window said 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.
UNCTAD Visits President
During the two-day conference, Dr. Kituyi paid a courtesy call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and renewed UNCTAD’s commitment to deepening collaboration with Ghana in the key areas of strengthening ports capacity, institutional support for implementation of trade facilitation reforms, entrepreneurship under UNCTAD’s EMPRETEC programme, and policy development in key trade related areas.
Dr. Kituyi also visited the Dignity DTRT (DoTheRightThing), Ghana’s key textile industry currently manufacturing garments for the International market, with a workforce of 1500 people most of who are women.
The National Single Window enhances the potential for foreign direct investment in countries and links, in a seamless and electronic manner, information flow between importing and exporting traders importing on the one hand, and the relevant government authorities on the other, making trade processes more efficient, transparent and cost effective.
According to the UNCTAD, investing in the implementation of trade facilitation reforms is also key for realizing the SDGs, in particular SDG 9 on infrastructure, innovation and industry.