Ghana has projected an overall cargo throughput growth of 10 percent this year due to aggressive trade and industrial policies being rolled out by the government, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, has announced.
The projection, she said, was also premised on the expectation that the introduction of the First-Port-Rule for the transit trade would be well managed in order not to deflect transit cargo to neighbouring West African countries’ ports.
The “First-Port-Rule” is an arrangement that allows customs officials from neighbouring landlocked countries to set up desks at Ghana’s Ports to collect taxes on transit goods, which would become operational on March 1.
Ms. Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Authority, addressing journalists at its Shipping Quarter and Outlook engagement, in Accra, on Wednesday, said the World Bank had predicted the global economic growth to slow to 2.9 percent, this year.
Additionally, the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Outlook indicator for global trade growth this year is projected to slow to 3.7 percent.
The slowdown, she said, was largely attributed to trade protectionism, tight conditions and the ongoing trade war between the two biggest worlds economies-the United States of America and China.
Ms. Bismarck said the Chinese economy grew by just 6.6 percent in 2018 compared to 10.4 percent in 2017, noting that, China, being one of the major trading countries in the world, her slow economic growth is likely to hold a negative impact on the global maritime industry.
Consequently, it would negatively affect Ghana’s domestic economic situation since the Far East held the country’s largest share of international trade, with the Chinese alone holding more than 75 percent share.
The CEO of the Shippers Authority observed that the global trade outlook has always had a direct impact on Ghana’s international trade performance.
However, she said local policies and programmes had tended to propel the nation’s trade growth higher than the global average.
She said even though cargo throughput for 2018 posted a growth of about eight percent, there was a slowing trend in the third and fourth quarters of 2018.
That, she said, could be attributed to the uncertainty that surrounded the introduction of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) and other policies, adding that, those policies would mature and stabilise, while no new ones would be introduced in the short term.
Ms. Bismarck said whilst the country’s imports experienced a slow growth of 1.2 percent in 2018, exports, on the other hand, grew by 24 percent, saying that, prospects for continued growth in the export sector are very bright in the wake of Government aggressive industrial policies.
The Ghana Revenue Authority introduced the CTN in the third quarter of 2018 to facilitate import transaction processes for revenue assurance purposes.
However, the CEO of the GSA said, the communication of the policy to industry players had been problematic as it was not too clear whether it was mandatory or a reprieve period was offered for non-compliance.
“It is important that the positions are made clear to ensure predictability for shippers.
“We also believe that the CTN must be seen as a tool for revenue assurance, as it can also facilitate trade and provide authentic trade data for effective planning by policymakers,” Ms. Bismarck stated.