Participants at the 74th Annual New Year School and Conference have urged the ministry of finance through the Bank of Ghana to develop a differential interest rate structure for businesses under African Continental and Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to them, businesses in the agricultural sector should have reduced interest rates from financial institutions in order to meet the demands of emerging markets.
This was contained in a 20 point communique issued at the end of the three day Conference under the theme: “Positioning the African Market for Sustainable Economic Development through AFCFTA.”
They indicated that AfCFTA member states should accelerate the process of developing regional common currencies which they explained would ensure the smooth facilitation of trade among businesses in member countries.
The group task the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the National AfCFTA Co-ordination office to create business advisory centres at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to assist Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises and large businesses to harness the benefits of AfCFTA.
The communique urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the national AfCFTA coordination office to urgently implement the communication and advocacy strategy that seeks to promote the activities of AfCFTA and how individuals and businesses could harness the benefits of AfCFTA.
It also called for more support for the private sector and industries through trade financing to enable them export their products.
The participants charged the government of Ghana to provide tax incentives to businesses in the private sector to increase the production and export of made-in- Ghana goods.
They called for more support for businesses in the private sector to adopt green manufacturing practices “the government should prioritise the development of green skills and the promotion of green jobs among professionals and individuals in the private sector.”
According to them, as part of the 4th industrial revolution, educational institutions should develop their curricula as commodities to harness the opportunities of the open market afforded by AfCFTA.
The AfCFTA, it stressed should engage with academia and industry leaders to develop apprenticeship and internship programmes for the practical training of tertiary graduates.
It also called for AfCFTA to collaborate with educational institutions to promote research on trade in Africa, regional value chains, and market information.
The participants urged for increased collaboration among member states on information dissemination on governance, peace and security which they said must include updates on laws and statutes that inform implementation of Trade within the AfCFTA framework by member states.
It called for broader control harmonisation methods among state and relevant national agencies and for more stakeholder involvement in the training of personnel for the deployment of these measures.
The communique charged member countries to ensure that they safeguard national security and address disputes that may arise “in a swift, decisive and transparent manner, adding “rule of law must be assured as a means of providing transparency and accountability by all African leaders.”
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU