Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said the trade and industrialisation programme of Government forms part of a Free Continental Trade Agreement agenda with the objective of creating a single market for goods and services.
He said Ghana would soon enjoy the privileges under the Trade Agreement that would ensure free movement of business persons to enhance investment. In addition, it would promote intra African trade through better harmonisation, coordination and facilitation regimes.
Vice President Bawumia said this at the closing ceremony of the Second Edition of the National Policy Summit organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra on Tuesday.
The two-day Summit, which featured the Ministry of Trade and Industry, was on the theme: “The Industrial Transformation of Ghana”. It brought together captains of industry, members of Parliament, the diplomatic community, policy think tanks, entrepreneurs and youth groups to deliberate on government policies and solicit inputs to ensure sustained growth and economic development.
The Vice President said the Free Continental Trade Agreement would resolve the challenges of multiple and overlapping memberships in regional economic groups and enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise levels.
He said businesses and governments in Africa were supposed to take advantage of the Agreement by exploiting opportunities of the economics of scale, access to continental market and better re-allocation of resources across the Continent.
The Trade Agreement, the Vice President said, would bring to fruition a resolution passed by the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of States and Governments of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in January 2012, which enjoined African countries to facilitate trade with each other.
He expressed satisfaction about the level of participation by the private sector since that demonstrates confidence in the Government’s industrial transformational agenda. Vice President Bawumia said the Summit was in line with the Government’s agenda of opening up spaces for dialogue and being a listening facilitator by using bottom-up approaches for policy formulation and decision-making.
“We know that we don’t have all the ideas and solutions that is why we have to constantly dialogue and interact,” he said.
“Even with the level of the Economic Management Team and with its powerful members, we regularly called on the private sector to dialogue on policies to get their views before we take certain decisions since this is the best way we can pursue our 10-point industrial development agenda,” he said. The Vice President said the Ministry of Trade and Industry, in the coming months, would start engaging stakeholders and sensitise the business community on the Continental Free Trade Agreement.
“We need your inputs; we want to encourage you to expand your perspectives on the emerging Africa. We, as government, will continue to engage in dialogue. In the end, it is your bold and entrepreneurial skills and your competitiveness that would determine how far and how much Ghana can take advantage of opportunities of Continental Free Trade,” he noted.
Ghana fully participated in the 16th Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) Forum held in Lome, Togo, from August 7-10, 2017 under the theme: “United States and Africa, Partnering for Prosperity through Trade”.
AGOA is a strategic framework through which Ghana seeks to expand bilateral trade and investment with the United States and it provides a duty free and quota free access to the US market. The Scheme was renewed in 2015 for another 10 years till 2025.
Vice President Bawumia said Government must take advantage of that preferential market and effectively utilise the Scheme by working together with the private sector and providing the needed interventions as stipulated under the AGOA.
On the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) Act, the Vice President said the Commission would help to regularise international trade in conformity with the rules and regulations of the world trade system.
He said the Commission would look into complaints by the private sector in matters of subsidies of imported products by foreign governments, dumping of such products onto the domestic market, tariff adjustment, settlement of disputes between importers and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and any measure that affected fair trade.
Government, in the coming days, would inaugurate the Commission in order to deal with fair trade issues and enhance the competitiveness of the private sector in contributing to the industrial transformation agenda of the country.