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Business and Economics

Maiden National Trade Facilitation Awards 2016 held

Accra, July 26, GNA – The maiden edition of the National Trade Facilitation Awards 2016, have been held to award deserving freight forwarders and agencies, which had rendered first class services during the review period.

Accra, July 26, GNA – The maiden edition of the National Trade Facilitation Awards 2016, have been held to award deserving freight forwarders and agencies, which had rendered first class services during the review period.

 

The Awards held on the theme: “Enhancing efficient and effective trade practices to promote growth,” was jointly organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) to recognise the contribution of players in the sector.

The awards target 36 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which issue permits, licenses, and exemptions through the e-MDA portal and freight forwarding agencies in Ghana.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said one of the core policies of government is to ensure speedy and efficient clearance of goods at the ports and borders.

He said the ability of firms to deliver goods and services on time and at the lowest possible cost is a key determinant of their successful integration into the world economy through the supply chain and lifting of the poor out of poverty.

The Minister said to demonstrate the importance of trade facilitation, the Ministry had set in motion the necessary steps for Parliamentary ratification of the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement, which was concluded in Bali Indonesia in December 2013.

In addition, he said, the government had signed an agreement with GCNet to help fully automate the customs clearance system and to network with other stakeholders involved in the import and export trade to enhance the Ghana Customs Management system.

“By means of a single point contact, via the e-MDA portal of GCNet, over 38 Ministries Departments and Agencies involved in trade, customs cross border clearances, regulatory processes and payments as well as private sector entities such as shippers, freight forwarders, importers and exporters have been connected and are able to use the deployed systems,” Dr Spio-Garbrah said.

He said the connection had enable them to access data, process payments, issue licenses, permits and exemptions electronically in exercise of their regulatory functions.

Dr Spio-Garbrah said the approval processes of MDAs had been identified as one of the constraints to trade facilitation with its attendant repercussions on Ghana’s score of doing business.

He said the awards had been instituted to ensure speedy and efficient clearance with a view to reducing the cost of doing business, whilst ensuring safety and security.

“The Annual Trade Facilitation Awards Scheme will be a competitive barometer that would spur on the trade facilitation actors to achieve excellence in service provision,” the Minister said.

Dr Spio-Garbrah expressed the hope that the awards would spur stakeholders to improve on their procedures and performances to be in line with international best practices for expeditious processing of transactions and clearance of goods to lower the cost of doing business in Ghana.

Mr Emmanuel Darko, the Deputy General Manager, GCNet, said through automation the process of transmitting various documents, including carrier manifest, the permits, certificates, among others.

He said a total of 331,223 e-permits were issued in 2015, whilst a total of 187,143 e-permits have been issued electronically in the first-half of 2016.

Similarly, instead of the human escorts to accompany transit cargoes, he said, these are now being done through electronic tracking system for transit goods, the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to deployed and electronic tracking system for transit goods.

Mr Darko said although significant trade facilitation gains have been made over the years, the country is yet to attain optimal levels because of some challenges, including check points along trade routes, axle load checks, uncoordinated checks by regulatory agencies and business registration constraints.

He said GCNet is committed to introduce leading edge systems to improve the delivery of e-governance services to support the country’s development.

Teamwork Freight Services Limited was adjudged the best freight forwarder small category while the runner-up position went to Samelot Shipping Company Limited.

In the Best Freight Forwarder Large Category Transglobal Logistics Limited emerged the winner while Bollore Transport and Logistic took the runner-up position.

Food and Drugs Authority won the Best Ministry, Department and Agency award while Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority toll special awards.

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