Creation of the national single window system will promote investor confidence and address major international trade challenges that faces government and the private sector when doing business in the country, Mr. Ebo Barton-Oduro, first Deputy Speaker of Parliament, has said.
“The inefficiencies when doing business in the country are expensive to the economy through increasing the cost of goods, which is borne by both consumers and producers in the country. Improving the business environment is consistent with government recognition of the private sector as a key building block for continuing economic growth and development.”
Mr. Barton-Oduro was speaking at the opening of a 4-day national single window stakeholder conference in Accra under the topic ‘Collaboration-Toward a Facilitated Trade Environment’.
The conference brought together policymakers, government officials, business managers, analysts, service providers, representatives of international cooperation agencies working in the field of trade facilitation, academia and experts in trade and e-business from the sub-region.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the conference was aimed at increasing knowledge of international trade stakeholders, from both the private and public sectors, on a number of issues which are critical to successfully establishing a national single window environment in the country.
As part of the four-day conference, participants will discuss general framework and institutional arrangement for a national single window; best practices and countries’ case studies; international standard for trade facilitation and national single window; information exchange in global trade; state of the art management concepts for single window planning and implementation; share experience and lessons learned, and will network and exchange views.
Mr. Barton-Oduro assured of government’s readiness to make available resources through the Ministry of Finance, and provide support and leadership requirement toward full implementation of the system to ensure investor confidence.
Mr. Seth Terkper, Finance Minister -- confirming the enormous benefits of the implementing the national single window system, lauded the success of the project’s first phase, adding that when fully implemented it will boost trade facilitation by harmonising, standardising, simplifying and, above all, creating a more transparent trade regime in the country through the deployment of information and communication technology.
He directed the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to apply appropriate sanctions against those who abuse the national single window system, as the directive will help improve efficiency in implementing the system.
“The net benefit of the single window project extends beyond revenue mobilisation. It will help facilitate trade and help reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
“If Ghana and most developing countries are to increase their share of international trade, it must significantly change the prevailing status quo on both the export and import side…and here we are not talking about just Customs processes, but the export-led strategy that government launched with its budget,” Mr. Terkper stated.
Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner-General of the GRA, explained that a new and innovative approach to clearance of goods is provided by the establishment of a true national single window system.
“Our new and innovative approach to clearance of goods is provided by the establishment of a true national single window; and we have successfully overhauled the process whereby hard-copy documents where submitted and processed so many times to different government agencies, thereby making the process very cumbersome.
“So far, to continue building a sustainable National Single Window environment all agencies both public and private must be fully involved, while a feasibility study has to be put in place so as to clarify roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders to create a realistic framework as a guide for the future.
“We are currently boldly on this journey. We will remain committed to building trust and understanding between all participating agencies,” he said.
Mr. Blankson indicated that the National Single Window environment provides a very practical means of improving border-clearance performance, thereby making trade easy.
“It will be a reality when all individual agencies collaborate to achieve this collective goal of ensuring that our country treads the right path to rapid development.
“With our success story, we are certain that the system will work and we will ultimately reduce the time and cost of doing international trade business in the country,” he said.
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