Government has designated the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as the Competent Authority for the issuance of Rules of Origin Certificate under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Rules of origin are a “passport” enabling goods to circulate duty-free within a free trade area (FTA) as long as these goods qualify as originating within the FTA.
This mandates the Customs Division to assess the criteria that must be met for a product to be considered as having its origin in an exporting country within the FTA and qualify for preferential treatment (zero import tariffs) inside the FTA.
Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry, speaking at the Business Forum on the Start of AfCFTA in Ghana: Implementation Arrangements said “we are also aware that the contribution of the government alone could not guarantee the success of the AfCFTA.”
The event was organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in collaboration with the GRA and attended by Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, AfCFTA Secretariat, and other Senior Government Officials.
It is a free trade area founded in 2018, with trade commencing as of January 1, 2021.
The free-trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization.
Accra, Ghana serves as the Secretariat of AfCFTA and was commissioned and handed over to the African Union (AU) by the President Nana Akufo-Addo on August 17, 2020 in Accra.
The agreement was brokered by the AU and was signed on by 44 of its 55 member states in Kigali, Rwanda on March 21, 2018.
The agreement initially requires members to remove 90 per cent tariffs from goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent.
He expressed the hope that government could work actively with business associations to enable the private sector to respond to all the interventions put in place.
He said in Ghana “our focus should be, how we ensure micro small medium enterprises can also take advantage of the programme.”
He said the Ministry was confident that with such strong collaboration between government and the private sector, Ghana was ready to take up the challenge of Africa.
Mr Kwaku Nsiah Mensuoh, Chief Operation Manger, Trade Africa Online, speaking on “Opportunities for AfCFTA Trading for SMEs in Ghana using e-Commerce” said there were three factors that could contribute significantly to increased trade on the continent.
These are market information, connecting buyers to sellers and logistics and distribution management.
He said whiles it was possible to address all three factors through physical activities, it was generally acknowledged that e-commerce provided a more effective cost-efficient ways of addressing the above factors.
“This explains why e-commerce is gradually taking over from physical commerce,” he said.
He said it was against this background that e-commerce has a critical role to play in enhancing intra-African trade.