MOTI, GCNet launch Trade Facilitation Awards
The Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), has instituted an annual trade facilitation awards scheme to encourage actors in the sector to render first class services.
The National Best Trade Facilitation Awards will target 36 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which issue licenses, permits and exemptions via the e-MDA portal as well as freight forwarding agencies in Ghana.
This is to encourage the MDAs to work towards attainment of international best practices and ultimately lower the processing time to be able to complete the issuance and approval processes of licenses, permits and exemptions for imports and exports transactions within 48 hours.
Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Minister of Trade and Industry, In a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the awards, said one of the core policies of government was to ensure speedy and efficient clearance of goods at the ports and borders.
He said it was to enhance trade facilitation that government signed an agreement with GCNet to help fully automate the customs clearance system and to network with other stakeholders involved in the import and export trade to enhance the Ghana Customs Management system.
Dr Spio-Garbrah said the approval processes of MDAs had been identified as one of the constraints to trade facilitation with its attendant repercussions on doing business.
He said the awards had been instituted to ensure speedy and efficient clearance with a view to reducing the cost of doing business, whilst ensuring safety and security.
“The Annual Trade Facilitation Awards Scheme will be a competitive barometer that would spur on the trade facilitation actors to achieve excellence in service provision,” the Minister said.
He said to sustain interest in the awards and to ensure that as many freight forwarders got the chance to be awarded, the awards would be in two categories; Big Freight Forwarders and Small Freight Forwarders.
Dr Spio-Garbrah expressed the hope that the awards would spur stakeholders to improve on their procedures and performances to be in line with international best practices for expeditious processing of transactions and clearance of goods to lower the cost of doing business in Ghana.
Mr Emmanuel Darko, the Deputy General Manager, GCNet, who spoke on the criteria of the awards, said the maiden 2016 awards would be based on actual performances and achievements in 2015 and would focus on criteria such as compliance to set rules, revenue generation, time to completion of document processing and actual release of documents and transaction volumes.
He said GCNet was committed to using information and communication technology to facilitate trade, adding that GCNet was collaborating with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to ensure that the awards scheme enhanced trade flows.
There were solidarity messages from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Standards Authority and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders.
The maiden award is expected to take place in June 2016.