Single Window implementation to promote trading in West Africa


Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other West African countries, West Blue estimated that the NSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.

With Ghana as a case study, the significant impact on the international competitiveness of Ghanaian business accompanying the introduction of the National Single Window, has resulted in a strong growth in the country’s international trade performance.

It is expected that the new system will significantly increase the global ranking of Ghana in the World Bank’s ‘Trading Across Borders Report’ from the rank of 171 in 2016 to 121 by 2021. Similarly, the ranking within the Sub-Saharan African regions could increase from 36 to 16.
Also, it is believed that, another potential benefit of the NSW is the likely positive impact on the country’s foreign direct investment prospects.
The Chief Executive Officer of the West Blue Consulting (the implementing entity of Ghana’s National Single Window), Madam Valentina Mintah, has therefore advised members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that are implementing the single window systems to abide by international standards to enable them to operate effectively and efficiently in the sub-region.

According to her, the uniformity of the systems would allow customs authorities to share critical data on trade and other related activities in line with the harmonisation of customs operations in the ECOWAS sub-region.

Madam Mintah said this at the just ended African Ports Evolution West Africa Edition 2016 forum held in Accra.

She noted that after some months of the implementation of the trade facilitation system, it had reduced the cost of doing business at the Tema and Takoradi ports.
Since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS last year, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours, Madam Mintah revealed.

In some cases, within an hour – that is substantial improvement from the previous situation whereby it used to take traders more than a week or two weeks just to get their CCVR, the CEO stated.

Madam Mintah was quick to add that the system had brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time, reduced corruption and cost of doing business.

The Customs Division of GRA took over the processing of the CCRV from the destination companies in September last year. The CCRV replaced the destination inspection report also known as the Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR). In spite of the successes chalked up so far through the implementation of the PAARS, she said there was still more room for improvement.
“Trade efficiency is a key determinant of investment decisions by international business and the positioning of Ghana as a trade-efficient and trade-friendly country will greatly enhance its attractiveness to such investors.”

Furthermore, she believes that the GNSW is expected to boost economic growth of the country, adding that the Single Window would enhance institutional and nation building, improved and effective collection of government revenues, simpler, faster processes for clearance and release, reduced costs of compliance, reduced corruption, and reduction in bureaucratic processes, among others.
As part of capacity building for the Ghanaian implementing officials, Officers from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, with its Technical Partner, West Blue Consulting attended the 5th edition of the International Single Window Conference in Morocco.

The conference which was under the theme: “Virtual Single Window for foreign trade the requirement for an inclusive cooperation”, took place between the 5th and 7th September, this year.

The invitation was in recognition of the success stories recorded so far in the operations of Single Window project in Ghana. Since the inception of PAARS, there has been a very significant improvement in doing business in Ghana.

The Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division team was led by the Deputy Commissioner, Operations, Mr. Fred Gavor.

-Adnan Adams Mohammed

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