The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan John Kyeremanten,has assured the business community that the country will not become a dumping ground for foreign goods, following the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He said trade remedies and safeguard measures would be effectively implemented to protect domestic industries from such unfair tradepractices,while the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) would be supported to undertake anti-dumping strategies and other critical issues.
In a speech read on his behalf at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra yesterday, he said those efforts were to complement the several trade facilitation measures already in place to enable the private sector to get maximum benefit from the single continental market.
The event, on the theme “Leveraging AfCFTA — The critical success factors”, brought together members of the business community, investors and policy makers to deliberate onthe crucial success indicators of the free trade area agreement,which commenced in January this year.
Mr Kyerematensaid the tradefacilitation measures instituted by the governmentincludedthe reduction in the inspectorate bodies at the port and the harmonisation and simplification of customs procedure under the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
Others, he said, wereimprovement of access to funding, fiscal incentives through reduction in taxes, capacity building of private and public sector organisations and upgrading of trade infrastructure.
The Minister said the government would collaborate with local and international organisations tocreate more avenues for business in Ghana to leverage the free continental trade area.
“One needs not to look any further for the critical success of our journey to empower the private sector to harness the opportunities and benefits of AfCFTA. Ultimately the effective implementation of AfCFTA requires national coordination between actors at all levels,” he said.
The Director, Trade In Services of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mrs Emily Mburu-Ndoria, commended Ghana and South Africa for being the first two countries to begin trading since January.
Giving an update on the AfCFTA, she said 36 out of the 54 countries which had signed the agreements had ratified it while negotiations were underway on outstanding issues, including rule of origin.
She said the agreement would not only facilitate trade and services on the continent but create jobs and eradicate extreme povertyfor 30 million people and lift about 88 million out of moderate poverty.
The Vice President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI),Mr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke, said AfCFTA would be beneficial to Ghanaianbusiness if the government effectively implemented its structural transformation, including the industrialisation agenda and the “Obaatanpa” programme.
He said the cost of electricity in the country was high and needed to be harmonisedwith those of its counterparts in the sub-region to reduce the burden on industry.
The Managing Director of Graphic Communication Group Limited, AtoAfful, said all efforts must be made to ensure that businesses in the country did not miss out on the vast opportunities associated with the AfCFTA.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR