February 12, 2021, Accra – In line with its agenda of supporting the SME sector, FBNBank Ghana is organising a trade forum for its clients which would help position SMEs to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The event which would be virtual forms part of the Bank’s 25th anniversary celebrations and is dubbed “FBNBank@25 Virtual Trade Forum.” It is scheduled to be held on Tuesday February 16, 2021 and would feature representatives of Ghana Link Network Services and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority who as resource persons, will provide education and lead discussions on the guidelines and procedures for registration on the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) under AfCFTA.
Commenting on the rationale for the Forum, Victor Yaw Asante, FBNBank Ghana’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer said, “AfCFTA provides enormous opportunities for Ghana’s SMEs considering it is offering the largest free trade area in the world and brings together 1.3 billion consumers across 55 African countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion. We at FBNBank Ghana are excited at this development. Through this trade forum, we will be delivering on our declared support to SMEs by making it possible for importers and exporters to be properly acquainted with Ghana’s customs management system in order to be better placed to benefit from the huge opportunities which AfCFTA brings.”
AfCFTA is an Africa Union (AU) initiative that opens up the continent commercially by offering an African free trade area across 55 countries and thereby increases intra-African trade by up to 52.3 per cent. It is estimated that it has the potential of lifting 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty. This will be through the creation of jobs as a result of the expanded market, increase in real wages for unskilled and skilled workers in agricultural and non-agricultural sectors, improved access to trade opportunities for women, promotion of industrialisation and increased competition among African industries on the global stage.
SMEs in Ghana will be lining up to benefit from the roll-out of AfCFTA and will therefore have to secure their registration on the country’s Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) in order to ensure efficient import and export of goods. ICUMS is Ghana’s e-customs system and it utilizes state-of-the-art cloud computing technology to provide a swift and secure customs clearance process. It is a real single window system which ensures accurate and fair taxation of all imports and exports at ports and borders while maintaining international trade protocols and controlling illegal activities.
FBNBank Ghana, following the agenda set by its parent company, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, will be supporting their clients to take full advantage of AfCFTA. Over the years FBNBank Ghana has supported SMEs in several sectors including manufacturing. Considering FBNBank Ghana’s track record, the FBNBank@25 Virtual Trade Forum should see a host of SMEs in attendance who will be focused on benefiting from being placed at the heart of the Bank’s business as per its brand purpose.
About FBNBank Ghana Limited
FBNBank Ghana Limited is a member of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited Group. The Bank has 20 branches and 2 agencies in Ghana with almost 500 staff and offers universal banking services to individuals and businesses. FBNBank Ghana Limited has been in the business of banking for 25 years in Ghana and is part of the trade hub that has grown economies for over 126 years across Africa, Europe and China.