Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, has said that the introduction of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project will facilitate the ease with which Ghanaian companies compete in global and regional markets.
The programme’s objective according to the Minister is to reduce the time and cost of trading across borders and ensure predictability in delivering of goods to markets. “It also promotes transparency and enhances government revenue mobilization through increased compliance and enhanced economic performance. This is mutually beneficial for both government and business,” he stated.
Speaking at the National Single Window Conference recently held in Accra, the Minister noted among others that the combination of the enhanced trade facilitation and trade development programmes as a dynamic synergy for the economic development of Ghana mean the Ghana National Single Window Project will play a major role in realizing the economic benefit of this synergy.
The Single Window project is enshrined in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which was ratified by Ghana during the cause of last year.
According to the Minister, the facility will help implement many of the measures in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, through the simplification of trade procedures, the provision of trade related information, the enhancement of cooperation between related government agencies, and the implementation of international standards, among others.
“All of these reduce the time and cost of exporting and importing goods to and from markets and enhance our competitiveness as a trading nation,” he further stated.
“As the Ghana National Single Window project unfolds over the next three years, we expect to achieve an overall reduction in the administrative time and cost of trading internationally by 50 percent to 25 percent respectively.
“In addition to the positive impact on competitiveness and employment growth that I already mentioned, this will make Ghana more attractive to foreign investment as transparency, predictability, time and cost are the key factors in the location decision of export-oriented businesses,” he stated.
“These developments are all parts of our ambition as a government to fundamentally change the way we work with and regulate international business in Ghana by providing an enhanced business regulatory environment. We will eliminate all unnecessary processes, simplify and harmonize the rest, and deliver a fully integrated and automated all-of-government services to our partners in economic development-the Ghanaian business community”.
In a speech read on his behalf, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta urged the industry players to fully embrace the new transparency and compliance level developed through the introduction of the Ghana National Single Window project in the country.
“I see no room for backtracking on this approach and call on all government officials in the various ministries to fully support the effort of our trading community to do their business efficiently and profitably”.
He was appreciative of the support of his colleague ministers and their respective departments towards the implementation of the GNSW project. “I also want to complement our technical partners and especially West Blue Consulting for the great progress made,” the Minister stated.
The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Kofi Nti on his part explained that the initial work under the GNSW project involved the replacement of the Destination Inspection Company (DIC) scheme with the new Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting Scheme (PAARS) operated by the Customs Division of the GRA, as recommended by World Customs Organization.
“This has proven to be highly successful initiative, with the waiting time for approvals reduced from over two weeks to less than two days, and even hours in many cases”, he stated.
This was followed by the introduction of a series of innovative and proactive improvements in customs services over the past two years. These according to him include the launch of the online single registration system for export declaration, introduction of the sea and air e-manifest system, and the establishment of the e-courier module.
He said all the measures have positive and direct impact on the competitiveness of the Ghanaian economy, particularly on capacity to enhance international trade through removal or reduction of regulatory barriers to trade.
Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Madam Valentina Mintah, said the technical partners of the GNSW project has been achieved despite the relatively short period of the project.
She revealed that despite the successes of the project so far through the implementation of the PAARS, West Blue is still working hard to facilitate trade and maximize revenue for the government.
Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other countries, West Blue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.
The GNSW project started on September 1, 2015 by the Government of Ghana to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue. It was officially launched on December 1, 2015.
The concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.