The Government is embarking on comprehensive Industrial Transformation Agenda with focus on making private sector competitive on the local and international front
Business Relations between Ghana and Poland are set to receive a major boost with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ghana National Chamber Of Commerce (GNCC) and the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
The MoU was signed on Tuesday at a one-day Ghana-Poland Business Forum in Accra.
The forum, jointly organised by the GNCC and the Polish Chamber of Commerce, is to strengthen the co-operation between the two countries.
Speaking at the Forum, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I, President of the GNCC, said the signing of the MoU would, among other things, further the development of trade and economic, scientific and technical relations between Ghanaian and Polish enterprises, companies, and entrepreneurs.
It is also expected to promote the development of new effective forms of economic co-operation.
“Today’s business forum as well as the presentation of business opportunities is meant to provide the requisite information to enable business men and women make an informed business and investment decision,” he added.
Explaining why he was enthused about the Ghana-Poland collaboration, Mr Dankawaso said his outfit had over the decade, embarked on a number of trade and investment missions towards building co-operation critical for private sector growth and saw this opportunity as one that would lead Ghana towards achieving its growth agenda.
He noted there were various investment opportunities to be explored for the mutual benefit of Ghana and Poland, including in the energy, agriculture, trade, pharmaceuticals and construction sectors, among others, in order to boost the levels of trade between them.
Statistics from the International Trade Centre showed that Ghana’s exports to Poland stood at GH¢33.3 million in 2016, while imports from Poland stood at GH¢37.4 million.
The main commodities traded include Cocoa and cocoa preparations, rubber and articles, wood, machines and equipment, paper, electricals and beverages.
He, however, bemoaned the lack of a Polish Embassy, saying the absence of a consulate made visa acquisition for businesses difficult and called for the establishment of a, embassy in Ghana.
Currently those seeking to travel to Poland have to use its Embassy in Abuja, which is accredited to Ghana.
Mr Andrzej Dycha, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Abuja said that his country was delighted to have such an alliance with a country that had been described by many as the gateway to Africa.
He said Poland and Ghana had some similarities, including both being fast growing economies, with Poland recording about four percent growth in 2016.
“Let’s join efforts and make the growth faster,” he said.
Mr Dycha said the Polish delegation were not only in Ghana to reap benefits for themselves but to participate in the objective of the Akufo- Addo government, especially the one district one factory project.
He was of the view that Polish enterprises could help execute the One District One Factory project by investing in some of the key areas earmarked by the government for the project.
Mr Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, commended the GNCC for its resolve to promote cooperation and partnership through trade and investment.
He encouraged the Polish businesses to take advantage of the business incentives that Ghana offered such as tax rebates and exemptions, repatriation of profits, and relief from double taxation.
He also committed to pursue the GNCC’s call for the establishment of a Polish embassy in Accra. “We look forward to engaging the government of Poland towards setting up a Polish Embassy in Ghana to deepen our diplomatic and trade relations”.
Mr Jerzy Drozdz, Member of the Board of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and Leader of the Polish Business delegation, who signed the MoU for his side, told the GNA that the Poland had been growing steadily in sector like agriculture and agro foods industry and could work together with Ghana to grow its sector.
He said Polish businesses specialised in producing agricultural machinery and were open to partnering with Ghanaian businesses, not only to sell the finished products but also to possibly set up manufacturing or assembly plants in the country.
“Another important thing is to find good local partners. This is very important because the local partners knows everything about the country; business environment, how the economy works, relations between government and business community,” he stated, adding this was very important in doing good business.
Mr Jacek Jedruszak, of the Ministry of Economic Development, International Co-operation Department outlined the opportunities for Ghanaian businesses in Poland.
He said Poland’s import value from Ghana, including cocoa and cocoa products, timber and wood products, aluminium, fruits and natural rubber, stood at 30 million Euros while its export to Ghana, including meat, machinery, dairy products, second-hand clothing, electricals, animal feed and paper, stood at 34 million Euros.
He said import and export levels between the two countries were very low and asked businesses to do more now that a formal agreement had been reached.
A research commissioned by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) in collaboration with the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund has revealed that Ghana’s ports notably the Tema and Takoradi ports and Kotoka International Airport are facing challenges of delays in clearing goods and cost escalation.
This came out at a sensitization and validation workshop on the research, Situational Analyses of Tema and Seaports and Kotoka International Airport. The workshop was organised by the GNCC on 15th June, 2017 for importers, exporters, state and private institutions involved in port operations.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Mark Badu-Aboagye (CEO, GNCC) noted that the advocacy action on improving operations at the ports had become necessary because of the difficulties being faced by importers and exporters. These difficulties have hindered the nation from realizing the full benefits of international trade as well as its comparative advantage over its huge natural resource base.
Presenting the research report to the participants, the research consultant in the person of Dr. Kwabena Nyarko noted that the survey covered 400 importers and exporters using questionnaires and direct interviews to elicit information on the import and export business. The analyses covered three main aspects of port operations in Ghana: port facilities; port procedures; and cost of doing business at the country’s port.
The findings revealed that Ghana has standard facilities required to facilitate imports and exports business; however, the facilities are overstretched given the volumes of trade recorded in recent times. Importers and exporters complained of long hours spent on customs clearance.
According to the report, delays at the port are as a result of human interference, congestion at ports, duplication of functions, unnecessary procedures, equipment breakdown and the nature of port facilities. In addition to the delays, there are also multiplicity of taxes and charges that are higher than global averages. It also noted that the clearance process and procedure is purposely designed to be complicated and intrusive precisely because there appears to be too much efforts and investment to cheat the state in terms of revenue. Thus, the system is so designed to curb such behaviours. These factors affect the performance of ports in Ghana.
The report also highlighted that most of the respondents were concerned about the cost of doing business with costs ranging between GH¢100 and GH¢650,000. Adding to these costs are monetary payments involved in informal arrangements that businesses resort to.
The report recommended that the current expansion and upgrade programme should be implemented on a continuous basis which should consider equipment (backup systems at the revenue terminal or division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, cranes and forklifts, more and better scanners), physical space and proper road network at the ports, more and better trucks, and provision of clinics for first aid and also restrooms. Recruitment of more workers to avoid delays occasioned by shortage of staff was also mentioned.
It also noted that there is the urgent need to streamline and simplify the procedures as the official processes are too winding and complicated. This requires undertaking a review to eliminate some of the institutions and eliminating duplication. It further recommended that supporting agencies should not be allowed to use importers and exporters as cash cows for internally generated funds. Finally, as gateway ports, the ports in Ghana must facilitate the movement of goods along the supply chain.
Source: Research and Advocacy, GNCC
Every organisation’s aim is to make profit or some gains. However, there are instances when cash flow becomes tight, and one is left with no option that than to focus on controlling their existing assets by reducing inventory and being stern on debtors.