The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has stated it preparedness to receive goods from State parties of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
With the Ministry of Trade and Industry declaring the Division as the Designated Competent Authority, it is mandated to issue certificate of origin for goods and verifying cross border trade.
Mr Yao Fechin Akoto, Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Rule of Origin and Tariff Schedule, said the Division had put in place all the needed infrastructure to carry out its mandate under AfCFTA.
He was speaking as a panellist at the US- Ghana Business Forum on the topic, “Customs Modernization and Supply Chain Solutions to Promote Manufacturing: Within the AfCFTA Zone.”
“We have in place a setup responsible for AfCFTA activities and other free trade agreements that we are into,” he said.
The Assistant Commissioner noted that training and sensitisation of officers and other stakeholders on the interpretation of the rules had been carried out to forestall any challenges with the implementation of rules on trade protocols.
Moreover, processes of trade, he said, had been automated through a single window that was an end-to-end system connecting the Division to all other Ministries Department and Agencies (MDA).
“Now you can sit in your office and process your permits, certificate and licenses and other documents. You don’t need to move from one Ministry to the other,” he said.
Mr. Akoto also indicated that the system allowed for application for certificate of origin, registration of manufacturers where companies could submit their application and schedule for inspection.
He added that, “reliefs and privileges under AfCFTA could also be managed in the system through a Customs procedure code, which gives necessary relief and exemptions”.
“Any state party that is ready to send goods to Ghana, we are ready to receive. And any import, export or transit, we are ready to process,” he added.
Dr. Fareed Arthur, Head of the National AfCFTA Coordination Office, said the rules of origin had inadvertently provided a new term of reference for trade on the continent, which established new value and supply chains.
He, therefore, urged businesses to be keen on meeting the criteria set under the protocol by saying that “agreeing with all that has been said with the digitisation, the use of electronic systems and Artificial Intelligence (AI), your goods will still not go to Africa if it doesn’t qualify.”
Madam Gyang Demitta Chinwude, Head of Customs Cooperation, Trade Facilitation and Transit, AfCFTA Secretariat, said her outfit was pushing for interconnectivity and automation of trade processes for seamless exchange of information among customs of party states.