The Borderless Alliance has organised a two-day capacity building workshop at Aflao in the Volta Region to educate customs officials on the implementation of the Common External Tariff (CET).
It was also to raise awareness among the private sector and cross-border traders for a better understanding of the provisions of the CET.
The workshop, which was organised in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers Authority with support from the GIZ, a German NGO, was attended by customs officials, shippers, the private sector traders and business associations.
The Advocacy Manager of Borderless Alliance, Mrs Afua Eshun, explained that the organisation used evidence-based advocacy to promote the vision of free trade for producers, importers, exporters, and financial institutions among others.
She said the organisation promoted practical improvements to transport, free movement of goods, capital and services in West Africa.
Purpose of workshop
Mrs Eshun explained that the workshop, which was part of a series, was also to educate the media and through them, the general public on the benefits of the CET and the customs union.
She said as part of efforts towards achieving regional integration, the CET had been introduced in the region since last year, and was being implemented in Ghana since February 1, 2016.
“The CET is aimed at ensuring transparent customs procedures, reducing border delays and facilitating intra-regional trade. Borderless Alliance is, therefore, collaborating with the ECOWAS Commission and GIZ to sensitise and to raise awareness of private sector actors and law enforcing agents at selected borders across the region on the CET,” she explained.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Madam Sylvia Asana Dauda Owu, said the authority took trade facilitation seriously because “we believe it improves on the competitiveness of our shippers through improved transaction time and reduction in the cost of trade”.
She said the authority had over the years collaborated with the GRA, Customs Division, the Borderless Alliance and other key stakeholders in the trade and transport industry with the objective of improving the business environment to ensure that shippers in Ghana and transit shippers alike remained competitive in the international logistics chain.
“I, therefore, wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of our key partners in the trade and transport industry for their efforts and to assure them of the GSA’s continued support and cooperation at improving road governance and trade facilitation in general,” Madam Owu said.
She explained that importers in the country were, however, uncertain whether the new law would lead to an increase or decrease in cost of importation and, therefore, called for extensive sensitisation to CET.
Benefits of CET
Madam Owu said she was hopeful that the series of workshops would provide an opportunity for understanding the CET implementation and the benefits in the long run that would accrue to shippers within the West African sub-region.
“I, therefore, wish to appeal to our stakeholders in the trade and transport industry to look at the long-term benefits of the Common External Tariff implementation and the need to support the process,” she appealed.
She called on the Customs Division of the GRA to be transparent and to give the necessary assurances that with the implementation of the CET, both regional and international trade would be better off.