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BoG Rules Undermining Trade Facilitation   
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Ghana’s commitment to the full implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is being hampered by the refusal of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to accept the CFA currency as payment for transactions at the country’s ports.

The TFA reached under the auspices of the World Trade Organization is essentially an agreement amongst WTO members to do away with unnecessary paper work and delays at the various borders and ports of respective member states.

A Terminal Supervisor at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) Emmanuel Ashaley Neequaye is however at a loss why the BoG would complicate the processes by its rules regarding payment in CFA.

“BoG is not accepting the CFA, they rather prefer the Dollar and it’s also a challenge because the longer period you take to get the dollar also keeps the goods at the port and you have to pay huge money for demurrage.”

Neequaye was addressing a workshop for media personnel on “Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement: Challenges and Opportunities for African Countries” organized by the WTO and facilitated by the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung (FES).

The Terminal Supervisor said the concept of the trade facilitation is to simplify import and export procedures, emphasise transparency and harmonize international trade procedures to bring down transaction cost.

The OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators estimates that the full implementation of all measures covered by the WTO TFA would reduce total trade costs by 10 percent in advanced economies and by 13-15.5 percent in developing countries.

He saw the current situation as a fetter and adding more cost to the process and queried, “Why is the BoG not accepting CFA If we really want to do business with our brother and sisters from Niger and Burkina Faso.”

Neequaye said it is a challenge because goods that should be cleared within some few days end up being kept at the port for several days.

Participants expressed concerns about the viability of the TFA especially to African countries as the processes are still bedeviled with a myriad of challenges.

But the Port official is convinced the “TFA is a huge step towards improving the trade facilitation environment and reducing the cost of doing business across borders.”

He argued that the agreement is set to promote intra-African trade which currently stands at a low 15 percent of total trade.

Again, due to the expected increase in trade volumes and faster approach to doing business across borders, the incidence of trade-related corruption will be largely reduced and government revenue will improve.

He encouraged African states to forgo their old structures and systems and embrace change to ensure the sustainability of the TFA in the region.

Source: Goldstreet Business

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