We must make Ghana National Single Window work— West Blue CEO

•   Ms. Mintah (right), speaking at the workshop. With her are Mr. Butterly (middle) and Dr. Keretho.

• Ms. Mintah (right), speaking at the workshop. With her are Mr. Butterly (middle) and Dr. Keretho.

Stakeholders in Ghana’s export and import sector must join forces and pursue the Ghana National Single Window concept to be able to remain competitive in the global business arena, Ms Valentina Mintah, Chief Executive Officer, West Blue Consulting Limited has said.

She said rallying behind the Single Window project would make it relatively easy to create a solid foundation which would enable the county to achieve the 50 per cent better, faster and cheaper trade across border indicators.

Speaking at a trade facilitation workshop organised by the company to educate Journalists on the Ghana National Single Window project at Senchi in the Eastern Region she said the project had huge economic benefits for the country.

“Estimated value of Ghana’s external trade USD $20,000 million (various estimates range from 20 to 30,000 million) assume 10 per cent of this is trade transaction costs US$ 2,000 million.  Assume we reduce this by only 10 per cent then the value of our combined efforts would be a saving to the Ghanaian economy of at least 200 million USD per year,” she said.

The Ghana National Single Window project was initiated on September 1, 2015 by the government of Ghana to the country’s trade and economic development and increased government revenue.

To this end, the government contracted West Blue Consulting Company to undertake the project and tasked it to among others assist Ghana Customs to take over responsibility for import classification and valuation, undertake a full feasibility study and the implementation of the Ghana National Single Window.

Ms. Valentina said the optimum goal of Single Window was to create an integrated workspace of data and business processes for all trade related activities and stakeholders, with the trader at the core.

The integration and optimisation of the processes, documents and the data elements across the International Trade Supply Chain she explained provides an efficient and effective environment for the trader.

“From a technology perspective, a component based, single window incorporates all the technology needed to support efficient trade activities such as trade information, registration, ports processes, customs clearance among others,” she said.

She said the World Bank Trading Across Borders Index which measures and ranks countries on the time, cost, number of processes and documents required for import and exports for 2016 ranks Ghana 171 out of 189 globally and 36 out of 47 in Sub-Saharan Africa.

To reverse the trend and improve upon Ghana’s ranking she said the Ghana Single window had set a target of 50 per cent better, faster and less-costly Trading Across Border Environment within three years.

Ms. Mintah mentioned improved and effective collection of government revenues, simpler, faster processes for clearance and release, reduced costs of compliance,  reduced corruption , reduction in bureaucratic processes, improved trader compliance and risk management techniques for control and enforcement purposes among others  as some of the benefits to be derived from the project.

Mr.Tom Butterly, Director and Lead Consultant at Trade Development and Facilitation (TDAF) Consulting in Geneva Switzerland in his presentation on, “Achieving the Ghana National Single Window Vision” Feasibility Study Findings Recommendations and Conditions for Success said Ghana’s move to use the Single Window for its international trade was a step in the right direction.

He said there was the need for political will to drive and implement the Single Window project.

Mr. Butterly said there was also the need for the country to set ministerial level agency benchmarks and goals for all related regulatory agencies to work collaboratively and with business stakeholders, to simplify and streamline their inter-agency procedures and documentary requirements related to exporting, importing and transiting of strategic products.

Dr. Somnuk Keretho, founding Director of the Institute for IT Innovation (INOVA), a research and development institute of Kasetsart University, Thailand said the Ghana National Single Window would make Ghana globally competitive.

By David Adadevoh

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