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Exporters urged to report challenges in export facilitation on time

Mrs Monica Josiah, Head of Shipper Services and Trade Facilitation Department, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), has urged Ghanaian exporters to report challenges they face on time during export facilitation.

She said during exports, some challenges erupted from various angles, adding that the Authority and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) were available to assist them in the facilitation of their exports.

Mrs Josiah said this at the sensitisation workshop on ‘BoG’s Letter of Commitment (LOC) Requirement for the repatriation of export proceeds’ organised jointly by the Authority and the Central Bank, with support from the Ghana Link Network Services.

She said the workshop marked the climax of a comprehensive nationwide sensitisation workshop in 10 regions on the subject matter since August 2022.

Mrs Josiah said the exchange of goods and services among nations, particularly export trade, played a pivotal role in shaping economies, stating that the contribution of exporters in Ghana had been notable.

She said all de
veloped countries relied on export trade and the conscientious repatriation of the proceeds to build their nations, therefore, the direct correlation between the repatriation of export proceeds and national development could not be discounted.

She said, ‘The current National Export Development Strategy, for instance, has an ambitious target to grow Ghana’s Non-Traditional Exports to USD 25.3 billion per annum by the year 2029.’

‘So, it is essential to state that all these interventions will be of minimal effect on our much-needed national development if deliberate policies are not implemented to ensure that proceeds from the export of Ghana’s resources are repatriated,’ she added.

Mrs Josiah said the Constitution of an Intersectoral Committee comprising the BoG, GSA, Federation of Ghanaian Exporters, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, and others would have to streamline the process of the LOC implementation to better serve the needs of exporters and the country.

She said the GSA championed the sensitisatio
n effort on the LOC because the Committee was required before export shipments were approved to exit Ghana’s ports and borders, additionally, in the export chain, the incidence of the sanction for LOC non-conformity was at the point of shipment.

Mrs Josiah said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement aimed to provide broader and deeper economic integration across Africa, attract investment, boost trade, provide better jobs, reduce poverty, and increase shared prosperity.

She said the success of the Agreement hinged significantly on efficient and cost-effective shipping and logistics.

Mr Eric Kweku Hammond, Deputy Director, Foreign Banking Operations, BoG, said the Bank’s LOC requirement had generated tremendous interest, mainly due to the sanctions associated with non-conformity to the lack of awareness of the requirement on the part of exporters.

‘…and also, unprofessional conduct of some customs house agents who use their clients’ LOC details to process shipments of other exporters on
their blind side, thus, the need for continuous sensitisation on the LOC cannot be overemphasized,’ he added.

He said key LOC complaints by exporters and customs house agents included insufficient time for repatriation, transaction block after 60 days of non-repatriation, delays in accessing repatriated proceeds from commercial banks, unfavourable exchange rates.

‘…high bank commissions and the unsuitability of the LOC requirement for small-scale cross-border trade are also inclusive,’ he said.

Mr Hammond said airborne exporters of perishable goods also complained of compromised consignment quality due to LOC-related delays.

He said it was evident that addressing LOC challenges fell directly within the purview of the GSA’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interest of exporters and importers in matters relating to cargo shipment by all modes of transport.

Mr Hammond said since 2019, GSA had created platforms in the various regions of Ghana for BoG officials to provide information and sensitise expo
rters on the LOC.

He said GSA had also engaged the management of BoG on the way forward to address LOC challenges, which birthed the BoG-GSA collaboration to organise nationwide sensitisation workshops for exporters.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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