The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) has noted that the nation needs to take cognizance of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement, and adopt the necessary changes in the way businesses are conducted.
The WTO Agreement calls for “change in the way we conduct our trade. We cannot continue to do things the way we have done in the past and expect different results.
“If Ghana is to increase its trade through the ports then it is imperative that it conforms to the WTO Agreement,” Dr Kofi Mbiah, GSA Chief Executive Officer, stated at a consultative forum on the World Trade Organisation Agreement on trade facilitation in Accra.
The Consultative Forum was organized by GSA, in collaboration with the Ministries of Trade and Industry, and Transport, and the Ghana Community Network (GCNet).
The consultative forum seeks to signify the effective collaboration among trade stakeholders in addressing the challenges that confront the Trade, Transport and Logistics Industry.
Dr Mbiah noted that: “We must strive for credibility and transparency in our decision making processes. It is only by doing so that we can experience the growth we crave for.
“To achieve higher growth rates, we would need to accelerate the pace of job creation and our economic diversification. A control of our fiscal deficit will be critical and we would need to monitor closely our current account deficit.
“To achieve these, we must give true meaning to Trade Facilitation and not pay lip service to same. All over the world trade has been known to be the economic driver of progress and prosperity.
“We must appreciate the contribution of logistics and trade facilitation to our developmental efforts. We must seek and find that intricate and delicate balance between taxation as an essential tool for revenue mobilization and the requisite space and flexibility that trade facilitation provides for growth and development”.
Dr Mbiah explained that the acceleration of the pace of growth could only take place through the deliberate creation of the requisite conditions that attract foreign capital by means of Public Private Partnership Arrangements.
He said the surest way to create such conditions was through trade facilitation measures, as it had the capacity to play the needed defining role in the relationship between public and private capital.
He explained that the Consultative Forum was significant, because trade facilitation, leading to an efficient logistics chain, impacts the manufacturing and agro based industries which creates real jobs.
“It impacts our trading relationships; it impacts our mining and oil and gas businesses; in effect it impacts livelihoods. It is a sine-qua-non for economic development,” he said.
He noted that the country’s efforts at trade facilitation must be geared towards the attainment of the “Blue Economy”.
It must be underpinned by an economic paradigm that is geared towards generating more revenue, creating jobs and being competitive in the global market place.
It must give vent to the full realization of the benefits of our maritime clusters. It must involve the facilitation of trade along the entire logistics chain, removing the bottlenecks, reducing the barriers and creating higher levels of efficiency which will engender cost reduction, and increased competitiveness for our business community.
Dr Mbiah explained that in this is the era of digital ubiquity; to facilitate trade “we must be ready to adopt new technologies, be ready to adopt the soft infrastructure that accelerates the processes of clearing of goods from our ports, which makes use of an effective and efficient single window system”.
It is estimated that by 2020 better trade facilitation will add $1.2 trillion to global GDP.
He said Ghana’s time for trade facilitation was now, and that was why our meeting was geared towards a better appreciation of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
It would thus be necessary for all stakeholders to work together towards a better appreciation of the Rules as enunciated in the WTO Agreement in order to facilitate trade for the benefit of our country.
Dr Mbiah also revealed that GSA was building partnership with GCNet to enhance the clearance of goods from the port as part of the overall efforts aimed at trade facilitation.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has recognized the need for change and its recent multilateral arrangements with respect to trade facilitation signed in Bali, Indonesia is geared towards effecting the necessary changes for global development and prosperity.
The Consultative Forum, was attended by Ministers of State, Businessmen and women; and stakeholders in the Shipping and Aviation Industry.