Exporters in the Marine time trade have been engaged on the need to develop proper Letters of Commitment (LOC) and Repatriation of export proceeds.
The engagement would help them to appreciate the new regime of LOC and their roles to promote trade sanity.
Mr. Eric Hammond at the Department of Banking of the Bank of Ghana who facilitated the session said exporters were enjoined by the provisions of Act 723 to repatriate proceeds from the export of merchandise commodities from Ghana.
The session was organised by the Authority in collaboration with Ghana Export Promotion Authority to address challenges with regards to Letters of Commitment pertaining to export.
He said the Bank of Ghana was also charged with licensing, regulatory and supervisory authority to give effect to Act 723 by monitoring exports from Ghana and ensuring repatriation of proceeds through the banking system to Ghana.
The LOC is a web-based export document that is generated by exporters from the ICUMS Portal to accompany all exports from Ghana.
Mr. Hammond said the ICUMS Portal was therefore the central database for both export and import in Ghana.
He noted that the ICUMS Portal now becomes the main source of statistical data to Bank of Ghana and other relevant government departments and agencies.
Mr. Hammond said the compilation of imports and exports data from the ICUMS Portal feeds into the Balance of Payment Statistics that Bank of Ghana prepares periodically.
Thus, the use of the LOC had become mandatory for all exporters.
Already, the committee set up to review the manual system for improvement recommended a fully automated web-based export monitoring system by Bank of Ghana and other relevant government agencies and departments.
The objective was to develop a web-based IT application to ensure that the operational challenges encountered under the old manual regime were eliminated.
He said discussions between Bank of Ghana and GCNet culminated in the design and implementation of the eMDA Portal, with the introduction of Letter of Commitment (LOC) as the export document to replace the FEX 4A FORM.
The system would automatically block exporters who failed to repatriate export proceeds and will not be permitted to do the next export until the proceeds of the previous shipments were repatriated, he pointed out.
“An exporter who fails to repatriate proceeds from merchandise export, through an external bank, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or to imprisonment of not more than ten years or to both”.
He added that Section 15(4) of the Foreign Exchange Act, 2006, Act 723 called for such greater sanctions.
Again, all Exporters, except those with retention agreements, were to repatriate to Ghana all export proceeds on receipts adding, “Any exporter with several FEAs in different local banks shall ensure that proceeds are repatriated to the FEA at the bank which endorsed the export documents”.
Mr. Darling Asiedu Sey, the Western Regional Branch Manager of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, said the Authority engaged industry players to address teething challenges facing the Sector.
He said the Authority would continue to engage, educate and collaborate with stakeholders for results.
Participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with a relevant body like the central bank for education on the LOC.