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Forum urges stakeholders’ involvement in trade facilitation

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Alan Kyeremateng

A stakeholder Forum on Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Accra has called on Government to engage all relevant stakeholders, prior to major trade interventions to ensure successful implementation.

Mr Samson A. Asaki, the Executive Director of Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, speaking at the forum said the successful implementation of any trade intervention must involve the private sector.
He noted that there was the need for government to pay attention to issues raised by trade unions.
“They do not engage us when they are formulating a policy, they would rather engage us when the policy is about to be implemented and when we raise the issues, they would say it is in law now.”
He called on the Parliamentary Select Committees on Trade and Finance to sometimes adequately involve stakeholders when fees come to their domain, saying “There is nothing that prevents them from engaging with the stakeholders”.
The forum was jointly put together by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF) and the International Chamber of Commerce Ghana, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
The forum on the theme: “The Role of Ghana’s Private Sector in the Implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement,” sought to help broaden discussion on the agreement.
On his part, Mr Franklyn Cudjoe, the President of IMANI Ghana, said Government must recognise the private sector as the engine of growth and not be ignored on major policies that directly and indirectly affected their operations.
He said although government claimed of removing some bottlenecks at the ports, the country continuously declined in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.
Meanwhile, in a speech read on his behalf, Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister of Trade and Industry said Government was committed to pursuing pragmatic measures to remove bottlenecks along the entire domestic and global value chain.
The measures, he said, involved addressing port access and capacity issues, transport links, finance, trade facilitation and market access issues.
He said, for the past decade, the country had undertaken a number of reforms aimed at facilitating trade to improve its import, export, and transit trade regime.
Mr Kyerematen noted that the reforms had seen the reduction in the processes and use of information and communications technology at the ports as well as unifying and reforming tax administration function of Customs.
Mr Kyerematen said the government could not achieve all its reforms without the involvement of the private sector.
Mr Helge Sander, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany, said partnership towards the implementation of such an agreement helped to build mutual trust, making implementation less difficult.
He said the GATF was focused on contributing to how the TFA could be of benefit to all stakeholders and increase job creation, and that was why it was relevant to its successful implementation.
Mr Sanders said the Federal Republic of Germany had established the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, jointly with other donors (Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States), due to their commitment to supporting trade facilitation efforts worldwide.
Source: GNA

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