An agriculture policy consultant, Emmanuel Wullingdool, has called on the government to empower businesses in the northern sector to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) secretariat’s presence in Ghana.
According to Mr. Wulligndool, supply constraints, including poor nature of roads and unstable power supply, are some major concerns for traders and businesses in the northern sector, and until those are addressed, businesses may not be able to benefit from the trade agreement.
“The government has a key role to play for businesses to benefit from this AFCTA project because we are looking at supply constraints, and I am talking about our roads, a stable power supply, and some of the basic services. So if these enabling environments are not in place, there is no way businesses in the North can be competitive to take advantage of the opportunities of the AFCTA.”
“The government will have to do more and work on our roads. For example, if I am a businessman and I want to travel from Wa to Bolgatanga, it will take me not less than five hours for a journey that ordinarily should not last more than three hours, “ he explained.
AFCTA is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063, Africa’s development framework. It is aimed at creating a single market for goods and services, facilitated by the movement of persons, in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent and in accordance with the Pan African Vision of “an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa’.
It is also focused on creating a liberalised market for goods and services through successive rounds of negotiations.
The consultant said it is important for traders and business organisations to understand what it entails before they even take steps to take advantage of the opportunities in the project.
The Policy Consultant said business organisations need to have a certificate of origin for their products, which indicates the source of the product in question, adding that for a product to be qualified for AFCTA, it must prove that more than 50 percent of the things that go into its production originates from Africa.
“The trade agreement doesn’t allow you to import products from Europe or elsewhere and then export it into other African countries,” he emphasised.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Gilbert Azeem Tiroog|Ghana