Vacancy: Local Consultant - Authorized Economic Operators

Date 22 Feb 2024
Job Type Short-term
Description


Company Profile


Nathan Associates Inc. (the Company) provides economic consulting services. The Company was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Company assists foreign and domestic governments and industry in developing solutions to problems by the application of the techniques of economic and socioeconomic analysis. Company operates in various countries as well as in various areas of the United States (U.S.).



 




Job Description


Background


The Feed the Future Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI) Activity is a four-year program that seeks to improve the enabling environment for Ghana’s economic growth by (1) facilitating growth in export-oriented trade; (2) improving and developing product standards; (3) catalyzing investments in private enterprises related to high-value commercial crops; (4) promoting job creation, particularly among women and youth; (5) promoting economic diversification; and (6) increasing foreign exchange revenues from high-value export crops. GTI will facilitate investing in firms that trade goods across borders, spur innovation, and build the capacity of the entire trade sector.


 


Since its ratification in 2017, Ghana has made significant strides in the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Among the many tools of trade facilitation that Ghana has introduced is the Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) program whose pilot started in July 2023. An Authorized Economic Operator is a company involved in the international movement of goods and approved by GRA Customs as complying with the World Customs Organization or equivalent compliance and supply chain security standards. The AEO program aims to facilitate faster clearance time for both imports and exports of compliant traders at Ghana's land borders, air, and seaports. This then enables Customs authorities to devote their limited time and resources to non-compliant traders. Importers, exporters, manufacturers, terminal operators, and customs agents may all qualify to voluntarily go through the process to be certified as AEO-compliant companies.


 


GTI collaborated with the Ghana Revenue Authority-Customs Division to conduct a workshop for GRA Customs officers on supply chain security in implementing AEO programs in December 2022 followed by a workshop for AEO potential companies in Tema in 2023. Currently, about 8 companies are certified as AEO-compliant companies. The program is expected to lead to a reduction in the time of clearance since classification and valuation processes in the clearance value chains will be sidestepped for AEO-certified companies. Besides faster clearance, AEO-certified companies are also prioritized in the selection of consignments for customs control. 


 


Going forward, GTI is seeking the services of a consultant to collaborate with the GRA Customs’ AEO team to implement several activities to advance the efforts of the AEO. This will include supporting GRA Customs to onboard at least 5 compliant companies into the AEO program and measuring their time savings, developing communication materials, and supporting the review of the AEO Manual and Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs). 


 


Registration guidance and manuals for prospective companies to participate in Ghana’s AEO program were developed before the inception of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS). Following the introduction of the ICUMS, it has become necessary to review the AEO Registration guidelines and Manual and align them with the ICUMS. In this regard, compliant traders who meet the scheme's requirements can be enrolled onto the AEO program and have their cargoes cleared through the ICUMS electronic platform. The consultant will support in reviewing the AEO manual, taking into consideration recent developments in the clearance process i.e. the deployment of the ICUMS and enhancing the Manual based on the experiences of the Customs officers and certified companies in going through the certification process.


Once the AEO Manual is reviewed, it will be published on the GRA website and serve as a tool for strengthening trade facilitation in Ghana. The Manual will also be disseminated among members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the SMEs receiving support under the GTI project. 


 


Objectives of Activity



  1. Revision and finalization of the AEO Manual and Self-Assessment Questionnaires (SAQs).

  2. Promote the uptake of the AEO program by compliant traders.

  3. Support the development of AEO communication materials to enhance the level of knowledge among traders on AEO.



Position Summary


To reduce time and cost in facilitating trade in Ghana, GTI is seeking to recruit a local consultant to collaborate with GRA Customs’ AEO team to implement several AEO activities geared towards the rollout of the program. The consultant's role in onboarding the AEO-compliant companies will also involve the sustenance of companies' interest in the program till final onboarding. This proposed activity aligns with the results of The Feed the Future Ghana Trade and Investment (GTI) Activity which seeks to reduce the time and cost of securely moving imports and exports to/from Ghana by at least 40%.


 


 Key responsibilities of the AEO consultant would include:



  • Support in reviewing the AEO Manual/SAQs and having the manual published. 

  • Support in developing AEO communication materials such as guides/brochures, and/or fliers to promote the benefits of compliance as adduced under the AEO program. 

  • Organize an experience-sharing event with identified AEO-compliant companies to engender continuous commitment toward the onboarding process.

  • Support the onboarding of at least 5 AEO-compliant companies.

  • Foster continuous interest in the program by working closely with compliant companies identified for onboarding into the AEO program.

  • Provide technical support to the GTI team as required. 

  • During all tasks, the consultant shall keep close communication with the GTI project team.



Deliverables:



  • Inception report with an implementation plan

  • AEO Manual/SAQs reviewed and finalized.  

  • Publish the AEO Manual on the GRA website.

  • List of at least 5 AEO-compliant companies onboarded.

  • Report on time of clearance reduced for the 5 companies onboarded with data to show the time savings. 

  • Communication products such as guides/brochures, and/or fliers developed to create awareness and benefits of the program.



Location and Reporting


This position will be in Accra with company visits in Accra and to other regions within Ghana. The Consultant on AEO will work collaboratively with the AEO Project Manager in GRA Customs and the GTI Trade Policy Director.



Required Skills or Experience


The consultant must be a former GRA Customs officer with adept knowledge of the customs process and particularly Ghana’s AEO program. The person must have the following; 



  • A degree in international trade/law/project management, or a related field. Advanced degrees or certifications in trade facilitation, customs procedures, or law enforcement training would be beneficial.

  • Proven track record and experience in AEO.

  • Minimum of 10 years working experience in or with Ghana border agencies including GRA Customs, trade facilitation organization. 

  • Demonstrable experience with customs IT solutions.

  • Experience and proven track record in facilitating workshops on AEO and trade facilitation matters.

  • Experience working with or training private sector stakeholders.

  • Excellent skills in interpersonal relationships and being able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment.

  • Professional proficiency in written and spoken English

  • Familiarity with international standards and best practices in trade facilitation.





How To Apply


Please submit the offer (proposal) including CV and Cover Letter to  [email protected] with the position title and your surname as the email subject. 

Deadline for the submission of proposals is 5:00pm Accra Time, on March 1, 2024. 



 




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