SIC Insurance Company, Ghana’s National Guarantor for the ECOWAS Inter State Road Transit programme and its Burkinabe counter, the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday July 3, 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the implementation of the single transit guarantee system on the Ghana-Burkina Faso road corridor.
This is a further step to strengthen the monitoring and facilitation of free movement of goods within the ECOWAS sub region following form the adoption of Protocols relating to the free movement of goods in under the Inter-State Road Transit of Goods (ISRT) programme.
ISRT enjoins member states to adopt a community-guarantee scheme that allows the transportation of goods by road from customs offices in member states exempt of duties, taxes and restrictions while in transit.
The Managing Director of SIC Insurance, Stephen Oduro, in his speech said the MOU would also facilitate the documentation process and reduce paperwork as well as the collection of a single premium at the onset of the journey to cover the entire movement of the goods on the corridor.
He added that typically, any person importing goods for transit must deposit a security in the form of cash, insurance bond or bank guarantee to cover payment of customs duties or other charges due on the goods in every transit country in case the goods in transit are short landed or diverted.
However, the current practice has been criticized as a serious drawback to trade because of its cost as a result of the premium rates, bank charges and bond fees,” he added.
Mr. Emmanuel Yoda, the Deputy Director-General of the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce who signed on behalf of his country expressed appreciation to SIC Insurance and Ghana and indicated that this agreement is critical for the success of the many protocols on free movement of goods in the Sub Region.
He said so far this is the second of such interstate road corridor agreement after the initial one between Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. He therefore, called on customs administration, clearing agents, importers and exporters of both countries to ensure that the system implementation was successful.
Mr. Seth Dwirah, Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), who chaired the ceremony commended the move and indicated that transit trade had been a serious challenge with customs adding recalcitrant traders smuggled goods leading to revenue leakage, and the under-selling of those who paid their duties.
Again the implementation of the Single Transit Guarantee Scheme will help remove the opportunities presently exploited by some middlemen at our ports who use fake tax identification numbers (TIN) to clear goods for transit and in turn divert them into the local market.
Also present at the ceremony were various stakeholders including the CEO of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Ms. Benonita Bismack, Mr. Jimmy Allottey, the Manager in charge of transit at GCNet among others.