In line with its commitment to empower local businesses to thrive in the midst of COVID-19, Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) has hosted the second edition of its ‘Adesua Series’ to educate its Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) clients on the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) opportunities.

The virtual event, themed “Time with Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Import/Export Procedures and AfCTA Opportunities”, aimed at removing ambiguity about procedures and also to encourage CBG SME customers to follow the laid down procedures to avoid paying penalties or being taken advantage of by Clearing Agents.

Reiterating CBG’s commitment to support SME clients in the wake of the COVID pandemic, Deputy Managing Director of CBG, Thairu Ndungu, said the bank is committed to being at the forefront of supporting SMEs.

He said, “We pledge to be at the forefront of servicing SMEs with products and value propositions designed to grow their businesses. We continually engage in strategic partnerships with Organizations such as Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Enterprises Agency, GHIRSAL, Exim Guarantee and many more to help our SME customers.”

Speaking on the three important facilities to support SMEs, Albert Akurugu, Esq., Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Customs Division of GRA said, “Under the AfCTA Secretariate, the Secretary-General has announced 3 important facilities to support SMEs including finance facility where the AfCTA has provided a 1-billion-dollar fund for SMEs in Africa, a Pan African payment platform aimed at reducing the cost associated with exchanging currencies into dollar in order to transfer and pay for goods and services. Again, we have created an AfCTA app to enable interconnectivity for expansion of businesses, reach potential customers, and access information on trade”.

On non-payment duty, he stated that any country in Africa that has signed on to the AfCTA is enjoined by the agreement to continue to dismantle their tariffs over a period of 10 years to ensure that a 0 % rate is reached by the tenth year.

On his part, General Manager for Business Banking at CBG, Michael Quansah, said CBG has alternative payment channels for Customs duty payments. He said, “It is exciting that over a period of 10 years, AfCTA is looking to eliminate Customs duty payments among intra-Africa trades.

CBG has several payment channels for payment of Customs duty including in-branch payments and Ghana.gov on *222#”.