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    Case Study: Public-Private Partnerships for Integrated Customs Services in Ghana

     

     
     

    Case Study: Public-Private Partnerships for Integrated Customs Services in Ghana

    International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2009 

    Over the last ten years, the Government of Ghana has shown a firm strategic commitment to attracting export-oriented investments, facilitating trade and enhancing Ghanaian competitiveness. Reforming the processes and procedures used by the nation's Customs, Excise and Preventative Service was a major contributor in working towards these goals.
    In recognizing the important role played by the private sector in driving economic growth for Ghana, the Government looked to a PPP to help build, own and operate the process of integrating and improving its customs operations.

    The issue

    Central to the issue of Ghana's customs operations was the need to reduce and improve the process time for customs documentation and standards while preventing fraud and improving revenue collection.
    Facing financial constraints and a dearth of technical capacity, and learning the lessons from previous, unsuccessful e-governance projects, the Government needed to establish a partnership structure that would not only support costs but also foster stakeholder buy-in and drive the implementation and sustainability of a new automated system and its processes.

    The solution



    A key priority for the Government of Ghana was to build the capacity of private sector groups and business associations to play a greater advocacy role in policy formulation and implementation. It established an umbrella body for various private sector business associations and created a Ministry of Private Sector Development to promote public and private sector collaboration with the Government. In addition to this, new legislation was passed to recognize the electronic processing of transactions and payments.
    In October 2000, the Government set up the joint PPP Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet). It selected the Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) SA as its strategic technical partner to bring financial resources and best practice technical skills and support to the project.

    SGS had proven experience and success in implementing a similar project in Singapore. The Government mandated SGS to identify and consult with suitable partners for the PPP. Ultimately the GCNet PPP comprised a 35:65 per cent ratio between public (Ghana Customs, Ghana Shippers' Council and Ghana Commercial Bank) and private sectors (SGS and EcoBank Ghana Ltd). The PPP was regulated and reviewed internally by a board of directors and externally by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

    The outcomes



    • Simplified customs procedures
    • Faster clearance times
    • Quicker transit with a satellite tracking system
    • Increased revenue collection
    • Improved competitiveness and recognition for Ghana from the International Finance Corporation as one of the countries that had improved the most as regards doing business.

    Reasons for success



    • Government support and belief in the project
    • Credible partners
    • Development of its own infrastructure to overcome core infrastructure issues
    • Phased project implementation that controlled costs and delivered consistently high-quality service
    • Tangible manifestation of the transformation and improvements of processes
    • Training, sensitization and extensive capacity building
    • Responsiveness to emerging trends and demands
    • A sustainable self-financing
      arrangement.

    To see full case studies visit ITC's Business and Trade Policy web page:www.intracen.org/btp