Imports through the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) have exceeded exports since the inception of the Trade Agreement in 2021. This was disclosed by an Operations Supervisor at the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), Mr. Kow Quansah.
Speaking at the Greater Accra Regional Shipper Committee (GARSC) Meeting of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) held on Wednesday 21st June 2022, Mr. Quansah said, “Importers are taking advantage of this agreement much more than exporters. Records show significant imports under this agreement than exports. Exporters must seek the necessary assistance from relevant bodies like the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Customs, etc. to also benefit from this agreement.”
He further indicated that there is a careful plan being followed to ensure that the rates being charged shippers currently under AfCFTA is reduced to zero percent (0%) by 2030.
“AfCFTA is in the 3rd year of its inception. The rates will reduce gradually until 2030 when the applicable rate will be 0%”, he added.
The education of the members of the GARSC has come at a time when many of them have reported various challenges in utilizing the ICUMS platform for their operations.
Mr. Quansah educated the shippers on the effective use of the platform and the avenues to lodge complaints, and to receive real-time feedback to assist them.
Head of the Shipper Services and Trade Facilitation Department of the GSA, Mrs. Monica Josiah urged the importers to take advantage of the ICUMS to clear their goods within the 7-day demurrage-free period to reduce the cost of doing business.
Participants of the forum commended the GSA for their consistency in sensitizing shippers on emerging issues in the shipping and logistics industry.