APRM engages stakeholders to take advantage of AfCFTA
The Targeted Review Mission Team of the National African Peer Review Mechanism Governing Council (NAPRM-GC) has intensified its engagement with stakeholders and the business community in the Upper East Region, to enhance corporate governance and improve trade.
The engagement which is being rolled out across eight regions in the country is expected to help identify policy gaps and implementation challenges with regards to Ghana’s corporate governance practices and environmental bottlenecks to cross-border trade.
This would contribute to the development of a National Programme of Action (NPoA) to support the productive and corporate governance capacities of the business sector to make them capable to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and significantly contribute to intra-African trade.
The engagement brought together participants from the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Police Service, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, traditional authorities, farmers, traders and Civil Society Organisations among others.
It was held on the theme, “Corporate governance as a catalyst for the implementation of the AfCFTA”
Speaking at the engagement held in Bolgatanga, Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, Chairperson, NAPRM-GC, explained that his outfit was facilitating corporate governance among the informal sector to enable businesses leverage on the benefits of the AfCFTA which was centred in Ghana.
He said it would also examine Ghana’s Corporate Governance structures, legislation, and regulations with the aim of strengthening government’s effort to promote good corporate governance standards and practice; enhance the regulatory framework and environment for ease of doing business.
He said businesses would not be able to take full advantage of the AfCFTA if they continued to work individually instead of as a team in some form of corporate governance structures.
He said it was expected that the challenges identified during the engagement would help make a recommendation to the government of Ghana who would in turn share with other African Presidents at the Africa Union Forum, to inform strategic policy direction to improve trade.
“We are enjoined to fashion out concrete, strategic policies and procedures in the right mix to support the private sector which has served as the engine of growth of our economy, to make the most of AfCFTA.
“We believe that the report will not critique anything but it will enhance the way that we can do business to take advantage of the wider market the AfCFTA offers us,” he said.
Mr Hugues Manzila, the Country Coordinator and Senior Researcher of the African Peer Review Mechanism, explained that the engagement was part of data collection process for a recommendation to be made for policies to be rolled out to support both local and national businesses to reposition themselves to take benefit fully from the AfCFTA.
Mr Manzila noted that Africa had a population of about 1.3 billion people and an economy of about $1.4 trillion and there was the urgent need to increase trade among African businesses to harness those potentials.
“The purpose of this exercise is to improve at the grassroot level, policies that will help entrepreneurs and Ghanaian big firms to partake in this big market potential that we have that is still increasing in terms of our demography,” he said.
The Country Coordinator and Senior Researcher explained that most businesses found it difficult to access finances from the financial institutions to expand due to poor corporate governance and internal functions of the organisations and underscored the need for such challenges to be resolved to enable businesses benefit fully from the AfCFTA.
Some of the challenges identified were bureaucratic processing in acquiring licensing, low investment for women in agriculture, insecurity at the borders due the threats of jihadists among others.