Customs Officials, Shippers, Private Sector Trader, Business Associations and the Media have been schooled on the Common External Tariff (CET) at Aflao in the Volta region.
This forms part of efforts towards implementing a Common External Tariff (CET) in order to achieve regional integration in the West Africa sub-region.
The two-day workshop was held under the auspices of the Borderless Alliance, in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers Authority and with support from GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit).
The CET is aimed at ensuring transparent customs procedures, reducing border delays and facilitating intra-regional trade.
The decision to have a Common External Tariff was taken at an extraordinary meeting of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Dakar, Senegal, on 25th October 2013.
However, implementation of the CET started from 1st January 2015 in some countries in the sub-region, and in Ghana on 1st February 2016. One of the initiatives of Borderless Alliance is the operation of a Border Information Centre (BIC) network.
Borderless Alliance is, therefore, collaborating with the ECOWAS Commission and GIZ to sensitize and to raise awareness of private sector actors and law-enforcing agents at the borders on the CET.
The main objective of this workshop is to contribute to the effective and efficient implementation of the ECOWAS CET.
Specifically, the workshop aims at: strengthening the capacity of customs officials at the border in understanding the CET; raising awareness among the private sector and cross-border traders for a better understanding of the provisions of the CET; and educating the media and, through them, the general public on the benefits of the CET and the Customs Union.
The Borderless Alliance, a regional advocacy organization established in 2011, works to promote and facilitate cross-border trade and reduce procedural inefficiencies.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu said the Common External Tariff has come at an opportune time because it will lead to the reduction of transaction time and cost.
“The implementation of the common external tariff is also expected to provide a better common trade policy regime. This would include applying Special Protection Measures aimed at addressing any trade imbalances across Member States thereby providing a real boost to the manufacturing sector and trading in general” she added.
The Shippers Authority CEO called on the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to be transparent and give the necessary assurances’ that, “in the long run, our regional and international trade would be better off with the implementation of the Common External Tariff”.
Ms. Sylvia Owu commended the Borderless Alliance for collaborating with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority to train to shippers and uniform personnel on the nuances of the Common External Tariff provisions.
Borderless Alliance has a membership of 83 private sector companies working hand in hand with public institutions, civil societies and the media in West Africa to increase trade.
The Alliance shares in and promotes ECOWAS vision of ‘free movement of goods and persons’ in the West Africa sub region.