Shippers in Tema in the Greater Accra Region have been sensitised on ways to address import permit application challenges as part of efforts to improve document processing at the port.
Organised by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Wednesday, it was in line with activities to help tackle the growing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and support trade facilitation.
It was on the theme “The role of FDA in addressing import permit application challenges to facilitate trade” and attended by groups such as Food and Beverages Association Ghana, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders and Association of Customs House Agents.
NTBs are trade barriers that restrict the import or export of goods through means other than custom tariffs. The World Trade Organisation’s list of NTBs include import licensing, pre-shipment inspections, rules of origin, custom delayers, and other mechanisms that prevent or restrict trade.
The Tema Branch Manager of the GSA, Charles Darling Sey, said the Authority would double efforts to deal with the development as a means to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which frowns on NTBs.
He noted that a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report suggests that African countries could see $ 20 billion growth in Gross Domestic Product by tackling NTBs at the continental level.
“Ghana and for that matter shippers cannot allow simple processing of FDA permits to add on to the NTBs which may have the potential to prevent the hard-working importers or exporters from meeting deadlines of cargo delivery due to simple processing of registration and permit acquisition at the FDA,” he said.
Mr Sey said one sure way to remove NTBs was the sustained awareness creation targeting specific groups and entities and the willingness of state agencies to assist these groups without any form of solicitation and appellate application process to give preferential exclusion in any form.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Technical Operations at the FDA, AkuaAmartey, urged stakeholders to work hard to ensure that the efforts being put into trade facilitation yield results.
“Whilst the FDA takes steps to facilitate trade, something which should properly be in the domain of the trading community, it is expected that you and our stakeholders also position yourself to comply with the Public Health Act and the Authority’s guidelines regarding the registration and importation/exportation of regulated products.
“This is important in ensuring a win-win situation where the FDA as a regulatory institution is not only concerned with regulation but trade facilitation as well, and you the trading community are not only concerned with trade facilitation but protection of public health as well,” she said.
BY TIMES REPORTER