By Nathaniel Annertey Nartey
Stakeholders in the export value chain have received reassurance from the Bank of Ghana (BoG) that the primary aim of the sensitization workshops on the Letter of Commitment (LoC) is to create awareness for conformity rather than to target and sanction non-compliant parties.
To this end, the BoG says it will intensify the awareness-creating campaign for the implementation of LoC which requires exporters to repatriate their export proceeds to Ghana.
This follows observations made on the increasing infraction on the LoC by exporters since its introduction in July 2016.
The BoG then forged a collaboration with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) to organise a nationwide sensitization workshop to encourage exporters to comply with the BoG’s regulations.
The two agencies then held the workshop series in nine (9) regional capitals commencing in August 2022, where more than a thousand (1,000) exporters were sensitised.
The 10th in the series of the LoC Sensitisation workshops was held at the Shippers’ House in Accra on Thursday 7th December 2023 with over three hundred (300) attendees including representatives from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and financial institutions.
In a speech read on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), the Head of the Shippers and Services and Trade Facilitation department, Mrs. Monica Josiah emphasized the significant interest generated by the LoC, attributing non-compliance to the lack of awareness among exporters. “since 2016, the BoG’s Letter Of Commitment (LoC) requirement has generated tremendous interest, mainly due to the sanctions associated with the non-conformity”, she noted
She added that engagements with key stakeholders have attributed the non-conformity to the lack of awareness of the requirement on the part of exporters and the unprofessional conduct of some Customs House Agents who use their clients LoC details to process shipments of other exporters on their blind side.
A Deputy Director of Foreign Banking Operations at the BoG Mr. Eric Kweku Hammond affirmed that the focus of the LoC Sensitization is to intensify awareness creation and ensure conformity, rather than targeting and penalizing non-compliant exporters.
“How many of you have been fined or imprisoned for failing to comply with the LoC so far?. The law is there to bite but we don’t want that, and it is why
We are focused on these sensitisations so you become aware of your responsibilities to the nation” he noted.
The workshop also provided the platform for participants to engage the BoG and the GSA on pertinent issues of concern to them, which were addressed.
The LOC is a web-based export document that is generated by exporters from the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) portal to accompany all exports from Ghana. The Central Bank on 1st July 2016 incorporated the LOC into the electronic export monitoring platform to track export proceeds in a bid to boost the country’s foreign reserves for the growth of the economy.