Trade Experts have reviewed port and trade related policies that had been introduced by government since 2017.
According to the Immediate Past President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, who was speaking on Eye on Port, the paperless port clearance process initiated by the Vice President of the country, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has been instrumental in trade facilitation at the ports.
He, however, bemoaned what he described as the inability of the government to sustain the gains made by the paperless initiative which he rated as 70% achieved.
“The paperless structure had a vehicle that drove it. The vehicle has been changed so as we speak today, we do not have paperless. But because that intension has been rolled out before, I want to believe that going forward this new system would be tweaked to be able to deliver paperlessness,” he added.
Kwabena Ofosu Appiah also criticized the introduction and implementation processes of the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) policy which has currently been withdrawn.
“One major fallout was that, there was no linkage between the system and the source of documentation. The importer still had to deliver his documents to the system. So, we did not see the viability or the cure that the Cargo Tracking Notes was to come aboard with,” he explained.
He also said the freight forwarding fraternity were also against the tax stamp policy at the ports because it introduced 200% examination regime.
Also assessing the government trade policies since 2017, the National President of Borderless Alliance, Ziad Hamoui praised the discipline of Customs to adhere to the directive to eliminate barriers along the transit corridor leaving only the ECOWAS approved ones.
However, he questioned the gains made as a result of that directive considering the fact that the transit corridor remains inundated with several police barriers to the discomfort of the transit community and leading to Ghana’s corridor being less competitive.
“The landlocked countries still went through the problem of the multiplicity of checkpoints along the roads. That remains a sticky issue which we need to go back to look at how to tackle it in a realistic way so that the country remains competitive,” he said.
The President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng, touted the open door policy adapted by the government since 2017 through regular interactions with economic operators, which he described as unprecedented, and urged government to continue in that direction or even improve upon it.
“For us in the business community, the most important thing is that we had unlimited access to government. The number of times we have visited the Economic Management Team is unprecedented,” he praised.
The seasoned trader also praised the initiative to have benchmark values of imported goods reduced by 50% and home delivery values of cars, by 30%, saying it has been very impactful on the market.
“Governments upon governments have been afraid to tackle duty rates, but when we put across our points and explained our issues to them, our plea was accepted. To reduce duty by 50% is no joke,” he continued.