Ghana’s efforts in reducing the time and cost of doing business has reflected positively in the World Bank Trading Across Borders Indicator for 2017.
And, according to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2017 Report, Ghana ranks number one in West Africa and Top 10 in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mr Seth Terkper, Ghana’s Finance Minister, indicated that the Report showed that Ghana had made substantial progress in improving its international trade performance by increasing its ranking by 13 places from 16 in 2016 to 154 in 2017, while Ghana’s ranking in the sub-Saharan Africa region improved substantially from 37 in 2016 to 20 in 2017.
Mr Terkper explained that the improvement was mainly related to the reduction in the time required for import border and documentary compliance, due, mainly, to the introduction of the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System under the GNSW.
He said recognizing that inefficiencies in doing business were too expensive for the national economy and increased the cost of goods, government was determined to improve the business environment by implementing policies such as the creation of the Gghana National Single Window (GNSW).
Mr Terkper said one important element of the GNSW Platform was the facilitation of transactions at the ports by reducing the time spent between the declaration of a transaction and the release of the consignment to the destination, adding that the CashXpress Card complimented government’s efforts in simplifying and reducing the transaction cost of doing businesses in the country.
He was speaking at the launch of the GNSW CashXpress Card in Accra, yesterday.
Mr Terkper noted that the reform programme was in line with the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA’s) modernization programme and the Public Finance Management Programme which aimed to see a joint up approach for all service delivery units under a broader e-government framework.
He disclosed that the GNSW Platform would be integrated with the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) for payments by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD) for better auditing and reconciliation management.
He said CAGD payments included e-fuel and e-travel initiatives which CAGD was piloting, adding that upcoming activities in the e-payments domain, in line with the GNSW Strategic Action Plan, included the introduction of trade-related payment points, including Duty Payments with all banks.
Mr Terkper urged GRA to extend the initiative to cover e-payment under domestic tax operations and improve upon its e-filing and e-registration and other e-compliance initiatives, adding that the integration of GRA’s domestic tax and customs electronic systems was critical.
The GNSW Prepaid CashXpress Card, collaboration between WestBlue Consulting (technical partners) and Ecobank, allows for the electronic payment of Customs duty on Ghana’s Trading Hub (GTH) portal www.ghanatradinghub.gov.gh; payment of other import and export-related fees on the trading hub as well as everyday payments not related to trade, such as grocery shopping.
The Card offers shippers and other stakeholders easy, flexible and convenient payment options; provides secured transactions; increases transparency; eliminates the use of cloned or forged documents; and eliminates delays associated with confirmations–all of which will help enhance Ghana’s trade competitiveness and, in turn, promote economic growth and generate employment.
The Channels of collection include Multi card Point of Sale (PoS) Terminals; Mobile Money Collection Services; Online payment Platform which accepts both Mobile Money and card payments; In-Branch and Agent Collections; and Interbank Collection Services.
According to Ms Valentin Mintah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), WestBlue Consulting, the e-payment platform was structured to deliver convenience and effective coverage of import, export and transit-related payments across the country and provide for an effective end-to-end reporting, update of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) Enterprise Planning Applications including GIFMIS and the reconciliation of transactions leveraging on a robust information technology system.