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‘Excessive bureaucracy hampers trade facilitation in Africa’

By Godwin Oritse,

CHIEF Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Ms Valetina Mintah has said that excessive bureaucracy has been identified as the most severe constraints to trade processing in Africa. Speaking at the recently concluded Ghana National Single Window Media Trade facilitation workshop in Akossombo, Ghana, Mintah said importers and exporters remain uncompetitive in the global business arena, a development that could be attributed to the number of days it takes to complete import and export processing and their attendant costs.

She noted that a collaboration between sister countries like Nigeria and Ghana could go a long way in increasing the gains of intra-African trade with a view to realizing efficient processes and smooth movement of goods. “No matter how much is done as individual institutions and countries in addressing these bottlenecks, it cannot be compared with the positive and timely impact that can be achieved with joint efforts of all stakeholders.

“When we join forces and pursue the goals of the National Single Window concepts, it would be relatively easy to create a solid foundation which will enable us achieve the 50 percent Better Easier and cheaper trade across borders indicators and beyond,” she added.   She explained that the optimum goal of the Single Window Concept is to create an integrated workplace of data and business processes for all trade related activities and stakeholders with trade at the core.

She said “The integration and optimization of the processes, documents and the data elements across the international trade supply chain provides an efficient and effective environment for the trader.” Mintah also noted that to achieve the aim of the Single Window environment. A robust, integrated, holistic multi-phased approach is essential to realizing the shared values of all stakeholders, focusing on the people, processes, platform and policy.

She opined that some of the expected benefits of the concepts includes institution and Nation building, improved and effective collection of government revenue and simpler, faster processes for clearance and release of goods. Other benefits are reduced cost of compliance, reduced corruption, improved trader compliance, effective information management system and better risk management techniques for control and enforcement. According to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD reports noted that each international trade transaction requires an average of 40 documents of 200 data elements, with 15 percent repeated at least 30 times and 60-70 percent repeated more than once.

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