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Business News of Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Source: B&FT

Remove trade barriers – Swiss Ambassador

Gerhard Brugger, Switzerland Ambassador with Vice President Amissah Arthur Gerhard Brugger, Switzerland Ambassador with Vice President Amissah Arthur

Gerhard Brugger, the Switzerland Ambassador to Ghana, has called on government to remove all trade barriers -- including difficulties in clearing goods at the ports -- to facilitate easy trade between Ghana and the world.

Speaking at the Swiss-Ghanaian Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Breakfast Meeting recently, he bemoaned the high cost of doing business in Ghana which continues to make the country unappealing to investors.

Mr. Brugger said the cumbersome nature of doing business in Ghana, particularly when one wants to establish a business and the high cost of production, discourages many businesses from coming to the country.

“It should be the responsibility of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other stakeholders to facilitate a framework in which businesses can operate. The system should be made leaner, smaller and less cumbersome,” he said.

Under the theme ‘Innovation in trade facilitation and E-government’, the programme created a platform for businesses to discuss challenges that hinder their operations, and also learn about new trends of trade facilitation in the country.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, called for creation of a trade portal for the African continent. He said the portal would help in trade facilitation and improvement in bilateral trade relations.

He commended contributions from the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) for its innovative systems to improve on business growth. The minister urged the Chamber to support the ministry in championing the crusade against high interest rates charged on loan facilities given to businesses.

He said government will not encourage companies who evade duties and taxes in their business operation, and therefore urged the companies to abide by regulations concerning doing business in Ghana.

He said government will continue to provide the enabling environment that supports businesses to strive and grow.

Mr. Spio-Garbrah said Ghana’s economy has the potential to grow very fast if all the industry players support the government by contributing toward national development.

Chairman of the Swiss-Ghanaian Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Nortey Omaboe, said instability of the country’s currency is not good for business. “The depreciation and appreciation of the cedi has forced many businesses to record little growth since the year began.”

Dr. Omaboe therefore appealed to the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure that businesses receive the needed support to expand their operations and employ more people.

Carl Sackey, Product Development Manager, GCNet, said GCNet will soon introduce a trade visualisation portal, new Customs management system, and a free zone management system to provide better services to clients.

He said this is to improve on trade facilitation and enhance government revenue, and promised the company will continue to invest in infrastructure and service delivery: “We will continue to work with government to attract investments into the country,” he added.