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Jan 13, 2021

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has revealed that the application processes for exports under the African Continental Free Trade Area through the Integrated Customs Management System will begin on Jan 18, 2021.

The Assistant Commissioner of Customs in Charge of Tariff and Trade and also responsible for Free Trade Agreements including AfCFTA, Fechin Akoto made this revelation during a discussion on- Eye on Port on the Implementation Processes of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana.

He also revealed that soon after, a portal with necessary information on the AfCFTA including the various tariff offers of the various states in particular product lines will be also published on the ICUMS platform.

The Assistant Commissioner, however, stated that Customs are currently assisting the exporters on the necessary processes, as well as all key information regarding trading in the AfCFTA.

He urged the trading public, in the meantime to visit the Customs Technical Services Bureau at the GRA Headquarters in Accra, to obtain answers to all enquiries concerning exports and imports under the AfCFTA.

“Meanwhile, we are establishing a desk purposely for the activities related to customs processes under the AfCFTA,” he added.

Fechin Akoto said while the AfCFTA Secretariat remains a key institution in all things AfCFTA related, when it comes to Customs Processes under the AfCFTA, it is better to visit Customs itself.

“People are calling the AfCFTA Secretariat. Seriously this is not where to go. They should call on Customs. Ministry of Trade will be publishing the necessary contact address to reach us in the newspapers,” he stated.

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  • January 13,2021

    The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has revealed that the application processes for exports under the African Continental Free Trade Area through the Integrated Customs Management System will begin on Jan 18, 2021.

    The Assistant Commissioner of Customs in Charge of Tariff and Trade and also responsible for Free Trade Agreements including AfCFTA, Fechin Akoto made this revelation during a discussion on- Eye on Port on the Implementation Processes of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana.

    He also revealed that soon after, a portal with necessary information on the AfCFTA including the various tariff offers of the various states in particular product lines will be also published on the ICUMS platform.

    The Assistant Commissioner, however, stated that Customs are currently assisting the exporters on the necessary processes, as well as all key information regarding trading in the AfCFTA.

    He urged the trading public, in the meantime to visit the Customs Technical Services Bureau at the GRA Headquarters in Accra, to obtain answers to all enquiries concerning exports and imports under the AfCFTA.

    “Meanwhile, we are establishing a desk purposely for the activities related to customs processes under the AfCFTA,” he added.

    Fechin Akoto said while the AfCFTA Secretariat remains a key institution in all things AfCFTA related, when it comes to Customs Processes under the AfCFTA, it is better to visit Customs itself.

    “People are calling the AfCFTA Secretariat. Seriously this is not where to go. They should call on Customs. Ministry of Trade will be publishing the necessary contact address to reach us in the newspapers,” he stated.


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  • January 13,2021

    One of Ghana’s leading indigenous manufacturers in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, Kasapreko Company Limited, has declared its readiness to capitalize on the incentives the African Continental Free Trade Area has introduced, to produce more for consumers within the continent, outside of Ghana.

    Kasapreko is one of the first companies to have registered and exported to a party state under the AfCFTA arrangement after implementation began on the 1st January 2021.

    It registered and exported its chief product, Alomo Bitters to South Africa, which is a party state and has ratified the AfCFTA.

    Speaking on Eye on Port on the Implementation Processes of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana, the Director in Charge of International Business Development at Kasapreko Company Limited, Francis Holly Adzah said the incentives presented by the Free Trade Agreement means clients and importers in party states of products originating from Africa, and for that matter, of Kasapreko products will be motivated to buy more due to the duty reliefs.

    “When you go to some countries you need to pay the duties on litres which is very huge. Now, it will go down, and distributors would use those funds that they would initially pay duty with, to invest and bring in more products and that is a plus for us,” he explained.

    He said because of that, Kasapreko has shored up its infrastructure and machinery to meet up with the increase in demand that the AfCFTA has presented.

    The Director in Charge of International Business Development at Kasapreko Company Limited indicated that due to the incentives provided by the AfCFTA, cost of production would see a reduction, and that would have a trickledown effect on prices on shelves, around the continent.

    Mr. Adzah said Kasapreko is well aware of the stiff competition competitors around the continent will pose, however his outfit is confident in the uniqueness of its products, and has accepted the challenge to compete.

    “Alomo is just one of our unique products that meet specific points of need for our consumers. Competition is good and we are well positioned by our packaging, infrastructure to meet the demands of the huge market,” he argued.

    He said the indigenous beverage making industry currently exports to 14 African countries and is looking forward to take advantage of the boost given by the Continental Free Market to penetrate the other countries among the 34 nations who have ratified the AfCFTA.

    He said Kasapreko would soon follow up its initial export with other product lines of the company to wider continental market under the AfCFTA.

    The Director in Charge of International Business Development at Kasapreko Company Limited also praised the smooth processes experienced during the first shipment of Alomo Bitters under the AfCFTA.


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  • January 13,2021

    An Assistant Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, in Charge of Tariff and Trade, and Responsible for Free Trade Agreements including AfCFTA, Fechin Akoto has advised importers and exporters who wish to trade within the African Continental Free Trade Area to first and foremost find out if the country being exported to is a party state which has ratified the agreement.

    He said, it is also vital for exporters to also find out the tariff offers of the destination country in order to ascertain whether one’s exports qualifies for preferential treatment in the AfCFTA.

    Speaking on Eye On Port on the Implementation Processes of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana, the Assistant Commissioner outlined some distinctions in the export processes under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, in comparison to exports not under the AfCFTA.

    Fechin Akoto said an exporter who wishes to establish under the AfCFTA, must acquire the various licences, permits and documents of all relevant regulatory agencies such as the certificate of analysis.

    He said the exporter would have to complete and submit the African Continental Free Trade Area Exporter Registration Form where an exporter reference code is generated which would be used for all export transactions with Customs.

    He said, exporters would have to apply for a certificate of origin, but this would be acquired after a joint inspection by Customs, the Chamber of Commerce, and Ministry of Trade has been conducted and it has been verified that products satisfy the requirements of rules of origin.

    “Before you acquire the certificate of origin, we go ahead to look at the final product and the raw materials that go into making that product to make sure it qualifies under rules of origin,” he indicated.

    “There is a clear distinction between this inspection and that of what the regulatory bodies would undertake. The regulatory bodies are looking for quality standards as required as well as that of the country of importation,” he added.

    Fechin Akoto said the various elements for determining the rules of origin are complex.

    He said, that is why the Ministry of Trade designated Customs as the competent authority for Ghana due to possessing the adequate technical acumen in the harmonized commodity description and coding system.

    He said the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has the capability of delivering on that mandate, and has the back up of falling on World Customs if there is any need to seek clarifications.

    The Assistant Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, in Charge of Tariff and Trade, said after the certificate of origin is acquired, exporters can proceed to process a customs export entry.

    After, preparations can be made to cart goods to port of exit.

    Fechin Akoto said, at the point of exit, the designated customs authority there would have to stamp and sign the certificate of origin which would make goods acceptable at the port of importation in the destination African country.

    On the other hand, during imports, the Assistant Commissioner said an importer who wishes to take advantage of the free trade area, should ensure goods being imported fall within the 90% liberalized goods of the importing party state.

    “ECOWAS common external tariff has 6, 129 tariff lines and the tariff offer schedules and modalities require that 90% of these 6,129 tariff lines which is 5, 560 tariff lines is liberalized. This means we’ll start dismantling tariff of these 5,560 lines immediately. Before you enjoy the preferential tariffs you should make sure that it falls under these commodities,” he elaborated.

    He also entreated importers of such commodities to ensure that the goods are accompanied by a certificate of origin duly signed by the competent authority at the exporting country.

    He said this should be accompanied by relevant documents like bill of lading, air waybill, commercial invoices, certificates of analysis and phytosanitary certificates on plant products.

    Speaking on the same program, the Director in Charge of International Business Development at Kasapreko Company Limited, Francis Holly Adzah, attested to the smoothness of the export processes under the AfCFTA and expressed his outfit’s ambitions to capitalize on the Free Trade Agreement.

    He said the incentives presented by the Free Trade Agreement means clients and importers in party states of products originating from Africa, and for that matter, of Kasapreko products will be motivated to buy more due to the duty reliefs.

    “For us, this is welcoming news for us and we are going to take advantage of it to get to the huge market we were not able to hit in the past due to high duty,” he expressed.


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  • January 13,2021

    The Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Col. Kwadwo Damoah has implored all exporters to secure the necessary licenses, permits, certificates and other vital documents from designated ministries, departments and agencies. He said this during the business forum on the AfCFTA, held in Accra. He said exporters or their agents, who want to operate within the AfCFTA will have to complete and submit the African Continental Free Trade Area Exporter Registration Form, followed by mandatory checks and approvals by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Customs Division of GRA to ascertain eligibility to establish under the AfCFTA. “If GRA, Customs Division is satisfied and approves of the application, an AFCFTA exporter code is generated and this is subject to annual renewal,” he revealed. The Commissioner of Customs also guided the trading public with the aid of visual illustrations on the processes required to undertake export under the AfCFTA through the Integrated Customs Management System. The Chief Operations Officer of Trade Africa Online, Kwaku Nsiah Mensuoh, also gave an insightful presentation on trading in Ghana using e-commerce and urged SMEs to adopt digitization in their business dealings. A consultant on export trade, Gerald Nyarko-Mensah highlighted the many market opportunities for Ghana within the African Continental Free Area. He listed plastics, fats and oils, footwear and textile as very viable industries Ghana can focus to explore its potential in for the liberated African market. “When it comes to the volumes and values, USD 21 Billion is what Africa takes in every year of plastics. Ghana is doing 200 Million. If you look at the gap, it indicates that there is room for much more that we can do,” he enlightened. The President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce Clement Osei Amoako called for effective stimulus packages that would positively impact cost of production for local industries, so that they can also sell at competitive prices in the AfCFTA. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, said contrary to some people’s belief that there is little to export from Ghana for the rest of the Continent, research suggests that the continent does indeed require many products from Ghana, hence the need to grasp that opportunity.


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  • January 13,2021

    President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has formally launched a Business Forum to commemorate the official start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana on Tuesday January 5th, 2021 in Accra.

    The Business Forum, which was organized by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in collaboration with the GRA, was attended by dignitaries including Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of AfCFTA Secretariat, Senior Government Officials and Captains of Industry including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Senior Minister, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority and Governor of the Bank of Ghana.

    President Akufo-Addo stated that the AfCFTA is a pivotal step for job creation, industrialization and sustainable development for the youth of Ghana, adding that the Government would ensure that Ghanaian businesses derive maximum benefits from the AfCFTA agreement.

    “Government is committed to ensure adequate financial and human resources are mobilized to make Ghana the new commercial center for trade financing and investment on the continent. A duty that should be fulfilled as host country of the AfCFTA Secretariat,” he added.

    He said that a single African market would increase intra-Africa trade by as much as 35 billion dollars per annum, by harnessing the purchasing power of the continent’s 1.2 billion people.

    He stated that the agreement would unlock and transform the huge resource endowment of the continent through value addition, increase export revenue earnings in Africa and promote regional value chain, as well as create massive job opportunities for the continent’s teeming youth.

    The Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene said locating the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana is not only a symbol of confidence in the country but also a signal that Ghana is the commercial and trade center of Africa.

    He revealed that the African Union Commission had accepted the proposal to transfer all functions related to AfCFTA from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Accra, Ghana.

    “This decision by the assembly of heads of states positions Ghana as the gateway to trade and investment in Africa. It gives practical meaning to Ghana’s longstanding ideals of Pan-Africanism,” he asserted.

    The Minister of Trade and industry Alan Kyeremanteng cautioned against complacency especially when other continental agreements initiated in the past have varied degrees of success due to implementation challenges.

    “While we deserve to pat ourselves on the back for coming this far, I will propose that we celebrate in moderation. Because this is not the first time that our union is embarking on such a major continental initiative,” he urged.

    He said there is the need to focus on how micro, and small enterprises can be empowered to take full advantage of the AfCFTA.


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  • December 23,2020

    Trade experts in Ghana have criticized Nigeria’s bully attitude that led to the closure of its land borders from August 2019 till December 2020, and cautioned that, that kind of decision would not be condoned by the AfCFTA.

    Speaking on Eye on Port, the Former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, and the Member for Parliament for Tema West, Carlos Ahenkorah, empathized with Nigeria’s reasoning to safeguard its market and people, but disagreed with the option to close its borders.

    “If you ask me, I still challenge the rationale for Nigeria to close its borders,” he stated.

    According to him, Nigeria’s closure of the border was to flex its muscle as the regional superpower.

    “They see themselves as big brothers of West Africa and can decide to do what they want to do,” Mr. Ahenkorah expressed.

    He revealed that, during his role as Deputy Minister of Trade, there was a meeting where the Nigeria proposed some 13 ultimatums that needed to be fulfilled, before reopening of its borders.

    Carlos Ahenkorah, explained some of the dynamics of the border closure on businesses in Nigeria and its trading counterparts, hinting that some of the consequences may linger for some time.

    “Companies in Ghana and throughout the West African region that they trade with as well as Nigerian companies themselves. The suffering is not going to end now. People have to reconnect and re-establish business relationships.”

    He said the AfCFTA will fill the loopholes that the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme exposed, and ensure that such practices will not be condoned during its implementation.

    “The ECOWAS protocols were couched in a gentleman’s agreement by the heads of states, and there were no dispute resolution mechanisms within that framework. The AfCFTA has corrected this mistake.”

    Also contributing to the discourse, Nana Osei Bonsu, who is the CEO of the Private Enterprise Federation, corroborated the former deputy Minister’s assertion, and emphasized that due to the conflict resolution mechanisms embedded in the AfCFTA protocols, will not give way for trade injustices to grow.

    “Whatever you do now will be subject to the AfCFTA. The rules of origin, the arbitration that was clearly missing with ECOWAS is now in place,” he cautioned.

    He cited, “Even under that agreement, when exports were getting into Nigeria, they were imposing additional mandates on the Ghanaian businesses without any reason to do that and disregarding the protocol.”

    Nana Osei Bonsu dismissed Nigeria’s position as exercising its prerogative to close its borders as a result of its responsibilities towards the ETLS.

    He said the actions of Nigeria had a detrimental effect to the economies of the 14 member states, and it is unfortunate compensation hasn’t been discussed.

    He said due to the all-encompassing nature of the AfCFTA constitution, it will not allow so called bigger nations to make selfish decisions in against other member states contrary to the provisions allowed in the AfCFTA protocols.

    “There are mechanisms that would allow businesses to report foul behaviour. In ECOWAS, Nigeria is the biggest player so they bully, but in the Continental Free Market, we have other competitive big players who have participated well within the global village for a period and you can’t bully them. Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, etc,” he asserted.

    The CEO of the Private Enterprise Federation, said because of Nigeria’s behaviour in the past year, although it has opened its land borders and deposited its instrument of ratification, he believes Ghanaian business will be reluctant to do business with Nigeria during the early stages of the implementation of the CFTA.


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  • December 23,2020

    The President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr. Ken Ukaoha has confirmed that the private sector of Nigeria’s economy is excited about the reopening of the country’s land borders, after more than a year of its closure to trade with its neighbours.

    Speaking on Eye on Port, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders revealed that the closure of the land borders had some negative impact on the Nigerian trading public.

    He said as a result, the traders in Nigeria have requested for some compensations for damages.

    “We have even sent a memo in this regard. We are asking for compensation especially for those who have been doing legitimate businesses across the borders,” he disclosed.

    Dr. Ukaoha, who is also a trade lawyer, however, stated that the closure of the borders was an essential measure by the Nigerian Government to primarily curtail the incidence of security threats in Nigeria.

    “This insecurity was associated with the movement of small arms and light weapons, as well as drug peddling across the region targeted at Nigeria’s environment. The country discovered that a lot of things that were put in place appeared not to be working and was compromised,” he elaborated.

    He also said the total embargo, was also to eliminate the incidence smuggling of some goods, to and from Nigeria which did not only undermined local production but affected revenue mobilization through intra-regional trading.

    “There was the situation were you find rice from third party countries outside of West Africa flooding the country and displacing our rural farmers,” he cited.

    The President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, said Nigeria’s regional trade counterparts violated some ECOWAS protocols in their dealings.

    “The Interstate Road Transit Protocol provides that the customs officials of every country will have the responsibility of escorting goods destined to other countries with the seal intact till its destination. But what we have had is that, these goods will come from third parties with seals broken without customs escort. Smugglers latch on that,” he explained.

    Dr. Ukaoha, Nigeria’s AfCFTA champion, also disclosed that, Nigeria took the necessary step of closing its borders after failed attempts to get its immediate neighbours, Benin and Niger to commit to solving the trading violations, thus, the decision to close its borders.

    Speaking on the same program, Ghanaian trade experts criticized Nigeria’s bully attitude that led to the closure of its land borders from August 2019 till December 2020, and cautioned that, that kind of decision would not be condoned by the AfCFTA.


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  • December 16,2020

    The Tema Port Security Manager, Colonel William Kwabiah, has called for harsher punishments for persons who engage in stowaways to serve as a deterrent to others.

    “Once you do not get punishment that is punitive enough that would serve as deterrent, we would continue to have young men who are daring to try and go on this adventure,” he warned.

    Briefing Eye on Port on a recent stowaway incident that occurred on December 8, 2020, the Tema Port Security Manager said the two suspects are Aaron Abeiku Taylor, 28 years and Emmanuel Bodor, 19 years.

    Col. Kwabiah revealed that the law requires individuals nabbed in the act of stowaways to be handed over to the Immigration Service who then hand them over to the Ghana Police, for prosecution.

    He complained that stowaway offences are usually met with meagre fines and insignificant jail term which is not deterrent enough for offenders to not try again.

    “Currently, they may be asked to pay probably 500 Ghana cedis or be sent to jail for a month or two. Normally they would get people to pay this amount, and this amount is not deterrent enough,” he asserted.

    The Port Security Manager also revealed that there is a need to intensify sensitization at the community level on the negative consequences of stowaway, which his outfit has already began.

    “The solution is to first educate our youth through formal and informal means. We need to engage the chiefs. We have been speaking to some of the chief fishermen, to get through to the young men to stop this practice.

    ” Col. Kwabiah encouraged the youth to refrain from the act, which is not as attractive as some youths perceive it to be and warned that in some occasions stowaways lose their lives in the process of their adventure. “Stowaway is not an adventure that people should attempt. Once you do, you do not end well. Most people do not live to tell their stories,” he advised.


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  • December 16,2020

    The National President of the Borderless Alliance and the newly elected Co-Chair to the African Regional Food Trade Coalition, Ziad Hamoui has hinted of the imminent opening of the Nigerian borders as announced by that country’s president.

    Speaking on Eye on Port, Ziad Hamoui also revealed that Nigeria has ratified and deposited the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement which he believes may influence that nation’s decision to reopen its land borders.

    “It remains to be seen how fast Nigeria can buy into the idea of not only the reopening of its borders but also of its internal market. Not only to the ECOWAS Trade but also to the AfCFTA trade,” he quizzed.

    In August 2019, Nigeria unexpectedly closed its land borders to trade in goods, explaining that it wanted to put an end to smuggling, particularly of rice and other products from Benin, which crosses their border illegally.

    According to the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, despite claims of earnings made in the aftermath of the border closure, Nigeria shot itself in the foot by introducing such harsh policy, indicating that Nigerian economic operators have since suffered the repercussions of that harsh policy.

    “They have now come to the realisation that they cannot live in isolation, even though they consider themselves giants. The true fact is that their people are suffering,” he expressed.

    He explained that Nigeria’s argument for such a decision was flawed and defies the objective of intra-continental trading and therefore not surprising that the country has inadvertently made situations worse for its economy and economic operators.

    The Immediate Past President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, touching on the matter, from an AfCFTA perspective said it is about time, African leaders looked at building its sea and land transport capacity.

    He emphasized on the need to bridge the logistics gap which he argued will drive the vision for AfCFTA.

    “You would want to consider vessel movement between African states, but where are the vessels? Now, it is cheaper for one to transport cargo to from here to Europe than to Liberia. For me, the AfCFTA is so good, but it would have to be thought through holistically,” he opined.

    Ziad Hamoui urged Ghanaian industries to up their game in areas of pricing, quality, industrial cost and financing in the advent of the AfCFTA.

    “We have to look at many factors that may threaten our benefitting of the opening up of the African market,” he said.


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  • December 16,2020

    Experts have called on government to strengthen the involvement of the private sector regarding deliberations leading to formulation of Trade policies beyond the year 2020.

    Speaking on Eye on Port, Ziad Hamoui, the National President of the Borderless Alliance said a strengthened public-private partnership in the introduction of trade and port reforms is the way to go, especially as Ghana’s government intends to ride on the back of a vibrant private sector in its industrialization agenda.

    “Prior consultation is pre-requisite not just for the policy making itself, but also for policy implementation. If you want the people who are users of the policy to buy into the policy, they need to have a view of it before you decide to wake up one day and roll it out,” he asserted.

    He explained that a more inclusive approach in arriving at Trade policies will help government to have a richer perspective on the practical needs of industry.

    “We can’t expect a policy maker who is sitting in a building somewhere in Accra to understand what is going on at the Paga border post for example. You need someone who is on the ground who can relay the concerns of private sector representatives, civil society, the normal average consumers, and the marginalized groups.”

    Ziad Hamoui, who is also the Co-Chair to the African Regional Food Trade Coalition, implored government agencies to step up in their attitudes towards participation in working groups such as the National Trade Facilitation Committee.

    Contributing on the program, the Immediate past president of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, called for a defined governance structure, with representation from various levels of the value chain to be involved in deliberations leading to formulation of policies that impact international trading.

    “The governance structure is that creation that must be able to properly moderate policy and expectation, so that we would have policy affected by people who are on the ground. We need that! And it is not only made up of high level operatives or those who must ensure that revenue comes into the coffers of state, or the regulators, but all folks who operate within the value chain,” he stated.

    He said the lack of such governance structure leads to the inability to sustain policies that hitherto could have yielded significant results for the trading community.

    The Past President of GIFF opined that it is only when there is a structured overseeing institution to ensure that policies introduced are aligned with the needs of the trading public and the Trade Facilitation Agreements made with the World Trade Organisation that such policies can be impactful.

    Taking his turn on the subject, the President of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, Dr. Joseph Obeng, emphasized that the enduring concern of the trading public is for systems to work so that trading is efficient.

    He said the expectation of the trading public is for new policy interventions to plug inefficiencies of existing systems, and bring relief to traders, but that is not always the case.

    “It is not my expectation that having touted systems, they are introduced and they bring transitional issues and at the end of the day traders face the consequences of the inefficiencies,” he expressed.

    Dr. Obeng said the law to ban the importation of salvaged vehicles, which has been suspended, like other policies should, in consultation with the trading public, be introduced in a phased approach, so that in reflect the economic desires of the people.

    “Whatever government is doing, it is doing it for the people so, if you bring such a policy and the larger majority of the people are not happy with it, then you have to withdraw and assess why. If you are talking about new cars being assembled here, then the locals should not be surcharged. But if we think it is a good policy, then we have to go slowly,” he said.


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