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Business News of Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Source: B&FT

Shippers trained on trade facilitation

The Ghana Shippers’ Authority in collaboration with USAID-West Africa Trade Hub has held a training programme for importers, exporters, transport operators and clearing agents at the Paga-Dakola border.

The programme was to offer participants ready assistance by way of information to shippers and transit shippers alike, to help facilitate trade across the Ghana and Burkina Faso borders.

This follows the successful launch and opening of Information Centres at the Paga and Dakola borders in September 2012.

The training programme saw participants taken though presentations and dissemination of informational material on import and export trade procedures, with respect to customs administration and the work of other regulatory agencies operating at the border.

In an address read on his behalf, Dr. Kofi Mbia, CEO of Ghana Shippers’ Authority, underscored the vital role that trade information plays in facilitating trade.

“Stakeholders need to work with each other with the objective of achieving efficient trade within the West African sub-region,” he said.

Mr. Mbia ask shippers to comply with the regulations, while calling on customs and other trade officials to endeavour to streamline procedures and avoid undue delays that bring about added costs to shippers.

“Lack of information on trade rules and procedures has been identified as one of the key disincentives to traders using our borders. Additionally, lack of critical information on ECOWAS trade protocols -- in the form of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) -- on the part of importers and exporters using our borders has reduced their competitiveness and the effectiveness of trade across the sub-region.”

He explained that the objective of setting up information centres at the two border crossings is to give trade advice and promote trade through the provision of trade procedure manuals on customs administration and road governance.

“Through such training programmes, it is expected that trade flow and movement of traders between Ghana and its neighbouring countries will be greatly enhanced, and this will also augment the competiveness of Ghanaian importers and exporters as well as transit shippers,” Mr. Mbia remarked.

Officers from BIVAC, a Destination Inspection Company, Ghana Community Network System (GCNet), and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) took participants through their procedures and processes at the border.

The agencies present included Ghana Standards Authority, Immigration, Destination Inspection, Port Health, State Insurance Company, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

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