By Ken Sackey, GNA
Accra, Aug. 31, GNA- President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday launched the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to position it as a strategic partner to achieve Government’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
At the inaugural ceremony, President Akufo-Addo noted that several examples abound the world over, of how advanced economies had successfully employed the tools of foreign policy to secure the well-being of their peoples.
This, he said, had been done with the aim of increasing trade, foreign direct investments, tourism, technical cooperation, education, health, agriculture, and the transfer of technology.
The President said the Economic, Trade and Investment Bureau (ECTIB) “is, indeed, a welcome and timely addition to help facilitate further investments, domestic and foreign, into Ghana.”
He noted that with his administration’s attention fixated on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy from being a mere producer and exporter of raw materials to a value-added, industrialised one, “our nation’s foreign policy, and interventions on the domestic front, must be understood as being two sides of the same coin.”
President Akufo-Addo said with the inauguration of the ECTIB, the Foreign Ministry had shown that it was committed to deepening its involvement in the development of Ghana.
“It is my expectation, therefore, that we will work together to build on the foundation that has been laid today through regular and meaningful interaction between all the Ministries concerned, as well as the private sector,” he said.
The President indicated that Ghana needed improved customs function to support targeted trade facilitation, and promote intra-regional trade through the implementation of ECOWAS Protocols and Continental Trade Policies, as trade facilitation was becoming a priceless tool in integrating economies into global value chains, creating wealth and employment.
Government, he said, had put in place measures to start the single window project, a one-stop shop for all trade information exchange and clearance processes, by September 1, 2017.
“It would entail a paperless clearing process that should provide a platform for an integrated clearance process to minimise the human factor as much as possible, and reduce processing time for trade documents. Importers should now spend a maximum of four hours in clearing their goods from the nation’s ports,” he assured.
President Akufo-Addo noted that one of the most important goals of his government was to optimise the socio-economic growth of the country through tourism-related activities and acknowledged the immense contribution of the sector to Ghana’s balance of payments, employment, national income and production.
“The construction of a new terminal at the Kotoka International Airport is intended to strengthen the tourist infrastructure to permit an increase in the volume of foreign tourists,” he added.
The President lauded the sense of purpose and enterprise, which key stakeholders in the Trade, Investment and Tourism sectors are exhibiting in order to come closer together to open new possibilities for greater cooperation.
“This Stakeholders’ Conference should be held regularly to provide you with the platform to assess progress made, and to develop new strategies, ones that will focus on achieving the target of making Ghana the preferred investment destination in Africa, with the most business-friendly economy,” he said.
“Our goal must remain constant – a Ghana Beyond Aid, that is a Ghana standing on its own feet, exploiting its own resources according to its own programme, a Ghana freed from a mindset of aid, dependence, charity and handouts.
“That is the best way we can fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of our nation, whose toil and sacrifice have brought us our beloved, free Ghana.”