Shippers Authority advocates e-platform
Dr Kofi Mbiah, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), has called on stakeholders in the shipping sector to embrace and support the e-platform concept, expected to help tackle issues of road governance along the major corridors of the country.
The E-platform is a tool that allows shippers to adopt an electronic medium for sending their complaints to a centralised system with the ultimate objective of improving the identification and monitoring of non-tariff trade barriers.
It would contribute towards the improvement of the policy and governance environment.
The e-platform also aims at improving the management and handling of concerns from stakeholders and to provide transparency in the process of resolving each barrier identified, whilst contributing towards streamlining on non-tariff barriers in the West Africa Region in order to promote a better business environment.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue in Accra, Dr Mbiah said because most of Ghana’s major corridors are plagued with quite a number of challenges that negatively impact on the activities of shippers, especially on their competitiveness, the GSA decided to hold the discussion on the implementation of electronic platform for reporting non-tariff trade barriers along the major corridors of Ghana.
This would enable stakeholders to come out with appropriate recommendations that would help improve the implementation of the e-platform to promote trade in West Africa.
The dialogue is also to help build capacity of the stakeholders including freight forwarders, customs officials, port authorities and representatives of the ministries, departments and agencies.
Dr Mbiah said the e-platform initiative is being implemented on pilot basis for six months along the Tema-Ouagadouguo trade corridor and would be later replicated in other West African countries to help boost trade among the countries.
He said the e-platform would facilitate trade through information dissemination, awareness creation and improved advocacy roles with policy makers, as well as trade and transport stakeholders all drawn from supply chains including port authorities, logistics operators, manufacturers and traders.
Mr George Ofori, President of Ghana Union Traders Association, said many factors acting against Africa’s ability to compete favourably in the global trade arena have made the continent the least performer in global trade with a share of about 2.5 per cent of international trade.
He said key among the challenges include the lack of value added exports, poor infrastructure and poorly harmonised customs regime, which most often lead to high cost of doing business.
Mr Ofori said the high cost of doing business in Ghana remains one of the biggest disincentives to the economic growth of the country, while the high road transport cost, delays at road checkpoints, as well as illegal payments demanded by some uniformed officials had worsened the situation.
He therefore welcomed the dialogue, and urged participants to come up with inputs that would lead to the improvement in the implementation of the e-platform, to reduce negative impact of road governance challenges on trade across Ghana’s trade corridors.