The 6th Edition of the International Single Window Conference has been held in Ghana with a call on governments of countries to take over the management of National Single Window to ensure ease of doing business, eliminate the tendency of causing multiple data submission and safeguarding national revenue.
The Conference which brought together more than 500 participants with about 200 foreign delegates from over 20 countries focused on improving Trade Facilitation agreements and E-Commerce using Single Window as a catalyst.
Welcoming the participants of the conference which was organized by Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), supported by Ministry of Trade and Ghana Revenue Authority and under the auspices of the African Alliance for E-Commerce, the Executive Chairman of GCNet, Dr. Nortey Omaboe, said there was the need for governments of countries like Ghana to set new benchmarks towards the attainment of Trade Facilitation Agreement goals that have been set by relevant protocols within the World Customs Organization framework.
"In view of the importance of trade growth and its facilitation, the single window system has been identified in all relevant international protocols as being a key for the integration of all the various systems; transportation, warehousing, cargo tracking, payment systems that help to promote trade and revenue flow," he said.
He said, GCNet over the years have consistently ensured that it supports governments in attainment of such Trade Facilitation targets.
"Indeed the solutions that GCNet has recently brought unto the Ghana market include an integration of the revenue collection systems with the expenditure systems of government, electronic transit trade monitoring as well as electronic business registration, all of which have been deployed and developed by GCNet," he said.
Dr. Omaboe called for policy measures to allow technology service providers to develop innovative information technology solutions to ensure greater efficiency in e-governance and trade processes.
"The truth is that the space for e-commerce initiatives in Ghana and indeed across the continent is still largely untapped," he observed.
Other speakers took turns to highlight that the potential of e-commerce has not been generally harnessed on the continent of Africa and advice governments to leverage single window to promote Intra-African Trade and deepen cross border services.
A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, urged governments, parliamentarians, policy makers, experts and global practitioners, to embrace the Single Window Systems and called for a co-operative arrangement between Customs and other government institutions involved in international trade to facilitate a seamless transfer of trade data and exchange of risk intelligence at both national and international levels.
He said "the single window facility serves as an instrument to improve the publication and availability of information such as improved transparency on fees and charges, facilitate electronic payment on duties and taxes, minimize formalities in documentation requirements and allow trade operators to apply for advanced rooms as provided by Article 4 of the trade facilitation agreement to which Ghana is a signatory".
Participants are optimistic that knowledge shared and the political support enjoyed by this years’ International Single Window Conference as a follow up to the previous edition which was held in Marrakesh Morocco in September 2017, will go a long way to transform trading pattern in Ghana and on the Continent be for the next edition of the conference.