The Chamber of Automobile Dealership Ghana (CADEG) is advocating the removal of internal bureaucratic processes and road checkpoint barriers to trade in the country, as these challenges hinder business growth and competitiveness.
According to the automobile dealers, all unnecessary interference – non-tariff barriers – to trade facilitation that does not accrue any financial benefit to the state must be eliminated to make local businesses competitive within the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market.
The group mentioned vague regulations, requests for unnecessary documents, duplication of documents, complex bureaucratic processes and road checkpoints, among others, as examples of non-tariff barriers to trade.
President of CADEG and Chief Executive Officer of Nabus Motors, Nana Adu Bonsu, mentioned that the automobile industry holds immense potential to drive economic growth, create employment opportunities and contribute to national development.
He however lamented that the industry is faced with numerous obstacles: “Multifaceted challenges ranging from cumbersome trade procedures, complex regulations and corrupt practices threaten to stifle growth and hinder progress.
“If we are to facilitate trade, then some of these barriers which we term as non-tariff barriers should be removed to make our trade competitive. Barriers to trade, delays at the borders or en route do cost a lot of money, and that does not make us competitive,” he said.
According to the association, verified and certified goods from Tema and Takoradi Ports to Kumasi and the northern zone go through numerous checkpoints on the roads: including by the Ghana Police Service (GPS), Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghana Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and Ghana Fire Service (GFS), with all these barriers trying to go beyond checking the certified and verified documents to do the inspection of goods again.
These barriers, he said, hinder trade especially when importers are commuting their goods from Tema and Takoradi Ports to other destinations. Among others, he mentioned time delays, increased cost, security concerns, and bribery and corruption as some of the adverse outcomes from these numerous checkpoints on the roads.
With implementation of the AfCFTA opening up the borders of African countries to each other, the association warned that these hindrances, if not eliminated, could significantly impede the country’s competitiveness.
Executive Secretary of CADEG, George Dumenu, outlined some benefits of trade facilitation; such as a boost to economic growth, improved competitiveness, attraction of foreign direct investment, promoting regional integration, and enhancement of meeting international standards, among others.
“Despite the aforementioned benefits of trade facilitation in Ghana, importers go through disturbing experiences with the authorities at our ports when transporting their verified and certified goods to Kumasi and other parts of the sub-region. The effects of these challenges negatively affect their businesses, after the huge sums of money paid as duties,” he said.
Call to action
In order to improve cargo mobility in the country, the association called on government agencies responsible for transport to work collaboratively on reducing the number of checkpoints, streamline the inspection process, and ensure that personnel performing the inspections are better trained and equipped to do their job efficiently and effectively.
“CADEG is calling on state institutions – including the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Roads and Highways, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Economic Management Team – to make intentional efforts to resolve the above-mentioned concerns regarding cargo mobility in Ghana.
“We would like to call on government to establish a public-private dialogue that provides a platform to voice our points of view, seek clarification and build trust and consensus. Holding periodic consultations with us in the private sector is the way to go,” CADEG added.