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Fix Ghanacard delays, extend SIM Card registration

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Ghanacard registration, Newscenta, National Identification Authority, Ghana, identity card, ECOWAS card, citizenship card,
Photo: faithsenam

Last year, the government, through the Ministry of Communications and Digitalization, gave a directive that all Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards should be reregistered over a six-month period spanning October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 using the Ghanacard.

The deadline was extended to this Sunday, July 31, 2022.

That is to synchronize the details on one’s Ghana Card, a national identification card, with those used for the SIM registration to avoid the situation where some unscrupulous persons acquire a number SIM cards using different unverified details so they can avoid being found out when they perpetrate crime.

The initiative is, therefore, meant to stem the increasing incidents of fraud using the phone and also to monitor and track down persons who will use their phones for all manner of criminal activities.

As the deadline approaches, long queues and chaos greeted the hundreds of desperate Ghanaians who trooped to the National Identification Authority’s (NIA) headquarters in Accra to acquire their Ghana cards before the Ministry of Communications’ deadline for SIM card registration, which expires on Sunday.

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Also, offices of telecommunication companies are also streaming with people anxious to beat the Sunday deadline.

It is now commonplace to see people in long queues at the various telecommunication offices and centres struggling to have their SIM cards reregistered.

Data from the National Identification Authority (NIA) indicates that, as at July 21, 2022, about 800,000 Ghanaians are yet to receive or pick up their printed cards while several others had their cards misplaced or errors on the spelling of their names.

Out of a total number of 41.6 million (41,685,575) mobile subscriptions, 23.1 million (23,184,601) SIM cards have been successfully linked to the Ghana Card of which 14.1 million (14,102,670) completed the re-registration as at June 29, 2022.

Clearly, many people do not have Ghanacard through no fault of their own, while others have lost their cards and are now going through the process of replacing them.

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Even some people who registered during the mass registration exercise in 2019 are yet to receive their cards.

Meanwhile, Ghanacard is the only identification card accepted for the SIM reregistration and fresh registration.

An extension will allow the majority of Ghanaians acquire the necessary logistics such as Ghanacard to enable them to register their sim cards.

The use of mobile phone has become an integral part of everyday lives.

Its usefulness is enormous and has become a great source of livelihood for most Ghanaians.

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Disabling the sim cards of Ghanaians because they could not register will deprive them of their source of livelihood.

Also, government risks losing huge amount of revenue from the Electronic Transactions Levy (e-levy) from customers should the deadline be enforced.

Under such a circumstance, extending the period will help to save subscribers all the hassles and get them all captured so that the full benefits of the SIM re-registration exercise can be realized.

 

 

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Maritime

A capital of $200m is needed to revamp PSC Tema Shipyard

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PSC Shipyard, Newscenta, revamp. Luguje, GPHA,

Mr Michael Luguje, Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has disclosed that an investment capital of $200 million is needed to revamp the PSC Tema Shipyard.

The Shipyard, which operates as a separate entity was handed over to the GPHA to manage, operate, and attract investors into the shipbuilding activity.

Mr Luguje said the Shipyard, which was originally part of the Tema Port project, was separated and had gone through a lot of phases before the government handed it over to the GPHA to prepare it and look for a strategic partner to invest in it.

The GPHA Director General told the Ghana News Agency in Tema that in 2017, GPHA started to retool the Shipyard as it bought some equipment to make it attractive to investors.

He noted that as the biggest shipyard in Central and West Africa, up to $200 million was needed to modernize it.

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He explained that the GPHA still supported the operations of the Shipyard as there was a lot of prospects for it and stressed that retooling could be gradual.

Mr Luguje said: “The way the Shipyard is now; it cannot borrow even up to $10 million on its own therefore investors are needed. The GPHA was also not in a position to borrow more since it has invested a lot into the Tema and Takoradi Ports.”

GNA

 

 

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Maritime

Import duties to go up as govt scraps benchmark values policy

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Imports duties, Newscenta, Benchmark values, scrapped, general goods, GRA, vehicles,

Effective January 2023, the 30% discount on import values of general goods and 10% discount on home delivery value (HDV) of used vehicles will no longer apply.

Consequently, valuation of all goods will continue to be done in line with the World Trade Organization (WTO) valuation agreement, WCO Customs Valuation Compendium and the customs act 2015 (act 891) section 60 on used motor vehicles and section 67 relating to general goods.

In a notice to the trading public, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has scrapped the policy in its entirety.

Benchmark Value Discount Policy introduced in April 2019

In an attempt to make the Ghanaian ports competitive, reduce smuggling and increase government’s revenue from the port, government in April 2019 introduced Benchmark Value Discount Policy.

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50% discount on general goods

The policy provided a discount of 50% on the delivery or benchmark values of imports with the exception of vehicles.

30% discount on used vehicles

The delivery values for used vehicles were reduced by 30%.

Govt loses GH¢9bn

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Government lost nearly GH¢9 billion in revenue from taxes generated on imported goods as a result of the introduction of the benchmark values which resulted in reduction of duties.

The amount was lost between April 2019, when the implementation of the policy started, and March

Traders did not reduce prices

Despite the reduction in duties, there was no corresponding reduction in the prices of imported goods on the Ghanaian market.

AGI opposes policy

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Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) opposed the policy arguing that it had cheapened imports and dampened demand for local substitutes, leading to the collapse of local manufacturing companies.

The Association made the point that while a number of countries offered export rebates to their firms to develop export trade, Ghana’s benchmark discount policy offered universal import rebate that only promoted importation and that policy distorted the micro and macro-economic fundamentals.

Guided by the overarching framework of Ghana’s industrial transformation agenda, one district, one factory (1D1F) initiatives, Planting for Food and Jobs, Fertilizer subsidy and Ghana’s export development agenda, the AGI is of the view that the benchmark discount policy in its current form runs counter to the government’s own agenda to industrialise.

In the 2022 Budget Statement, indicated government’s intention to review the policy in respect of all imports followed by a communication to remove the discount policy.

The government however suspended moves to remove the discount policy to allow for extensive stakeholder engagement on the viability of the policy and its impact on both government revenue and the domestic manufacturing industry.

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Policy reviewed in March 2022

After extensive stakeholder engagements the discount offered for vehicles was reduced from 30% to 10% while discount for all other goods was also reduced from 50% to 30% effective on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

Now, the government has completely scrapped the policy.

 

 

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Economy

AfCFTA: 8 African countries kick-start free trade with 96 products

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AfCFTA, guided trade, Newscenta, launch, Ghana, Accra, African Union,
Launch of guided trade in Accra. Photo: AfCFTA Secretariat

Eight countries have commenced guided trading under African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The initiative seeks to test the operational, institutional, legal, and trade policy environment under the AfCFTA, and to send an important positive message to African economic managers.

Rationale

The guided trade initiative aims to test the readiness of participating state parties under the AfCFTA, demonstrate that the AfCFTA trading documentations are operational and viable and confirm that the Customs and Revenue Authorities of the participating countries under the AfCFTA agreement are ready to process imports and exports.

It is also expected to serve as a gateway to encourage continued trade under the AfCFTA, resulting in a multiplier effect and increased opportunities for SMEs, youth and women in trade and ultimately establishing sustainable and inclusive economic development.

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AfCFTA, guided trade, Newscenta, launch, Ghana, Accra, African Union,

The 8 countries

The eight countries are Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Egypt, Mauritius, Cameroon and Tunisia.

5 African Union regions

These countries were selected to represent the five African Union regions, namely: Western, Central, Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa respectively.

Matchmaking businesses and products

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The guided trade initiative facilitates trade under AfCFTA through matchmaking businesses and products for export and import between these interested state parties.

96 different products

At least 96 different products from the eight countries could be freely traded under the rules of AfCFTA.

Types of products approved so far

Products approved to trade under AfCFTA include horticultural products, pharmaceuticals, rubber, aluminum kitchenware, sugar, steel, and wooden products.

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Duty-free and quota-free trading

These products originating from Africa will enjoy duty-free and quota-free trading among the partnering countries.

Tariff schedules

According to the AfCFTA Secretariat, participation in the guided trade initiative depends on whether countries have submitted their tariff schedules in accordance with the agreed modalities to trade preferentially amongst themselves.

Accra launch

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Launching the guided trade initiative in Accra, Secretary-General of AfCFTA Wamkele Mene, said ”this is the moment the founding mothers and fathers of the Organization of African Unity have longed (for).

AfCFTA, guided trade, Newscenta, launch, Ghana, Accra, African Union,

“We have finally honored and made reality the vision of those who liberated our continent.”

“We are connecting East Africa to West Africa, North Africa to Southern Africa. Trade will be the driver of inclusivity, creating opportunities for young Africans.

“So we have taken the first journey today, and I hope in 15 years, we will have succeeded in lifting millions and millions of Africans out of poverty.”

Products double or triple by next year

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Mr Mene, said the launch was marked with a total of 96 products traded by eight countries and the number is expected to “double or triple” by next year.

Africa’s economic development at stake

He said it is more than just a legal test and more than just ratification because it is Africa’s economic development at stake.

“I am extremely proud that we are able to demonstrate to ourselves as Africans that we have the capacity and inclination to achieve this,” he said.

More countries expressing interest

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Mr. Mene announced that more and more state parties are expressing interest as they conclude the process of domesticating the AfCFTA in their law.

East African member states dominate

East African member states have dominated the list of countries that have domesticated AfCFTA adequately to facilitate commencement of trade under the trading bloc’s framework.

Three out of the eight countries that have set the stage for trading under AfCFTA are from East Africa.

AfCFTA, guided trade, Newscenta, launch, Ghana, Accra, African Union,

Kenya and Uganda export to Ghana

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Kenya and Uganda have already undertaken trade under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative with Kenya having exported exide batteries worth $77,000 on September 23 to Ghana following importation by Yesudem Company Ltd.

Kenya exports tea to Ghana

Kenya made its second export under the AfCFTA Guided trade initiative on October 5 which consisted of tea exports to Ghana.

The tea consignment exported from Kenya to Ghana had been produced by small-scale farmers and so there is a significant opportunity for small-scale.

Ghana to export ceramics to Cameroon

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Under the guided trade initiative, Keda Ceramics of Ghana will export ceramic tiles to Cameroon.

Ghana to export palm kernel oil Kenya

Benso Oil Palm Plantation is also slated to export palm kernel oil to Kenya and Ghana will also receive approved goods from participating State Parties.

Minister for Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen noted that the launch of guided trade among seven countries was symbolic in many ways.

“It symbolizes that AfCFTA is not just on paper but a reality. And we are moving from talk and negotiations to action.

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“It also symbolizes that governments in Africa who have been involved in the negotiations are now giving way to the private sector to make it a reality,” Kyerematen stated.

Ghana building capacity of 200 companies

The National AfCFTA Coordination Office is also working with over 200 identified companies to help build their capacities to enhance competitiveness in the African markets.

On January 1, 2021 the AfCFTA Secretariat formally started trading under the AfCFTA agreement.

Since then, the Secretariat and State Parties have been working to put in place structures, procedures, processes, protocols, and documentation needed to enable the commencement of commercially viable trade amongst State Parties.

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Africa still faces significant challenges in navigating logistical hurdles which present non-tariff barriers to the acceleration of trade under the Guided Trade Initiative.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) places intra-African exports at 16.6% lagging far behind Europe’s 68.1% and Asia’s 55%.

The agreement establishing the AfCFTA was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on March 21, 2018.

 

 

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