Business News of Saturday, 8 July 2017
West Blue Consulting, a world class business and IT-consulting and technology firm has received two prestigious awards at Ghana Shippers Awards in recognition of the company’s achievement in the shipping industry.
The awards are-“Excellence In Innovation and Technology” and “Anas Aremeyaw Anas Transparency”, named after Ghana’s ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
The “Anas Aremeyaw Anas Transparency” was presented personally by Anas Aremeyaw Anas to officials of West Blue Consulting at the just-ended Ghana Shippers Awards 2017 which was organised by the Globe Productions in partnership with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority in Accra.
The company received the two coveted plaques for championing innovations and transparency at the country’s ports.
Commenting on the company’s awards, the Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Madam Mintah said: “I am very honoured and thankful to God; family and friends; my amazing staff, clients and government for creating the enabling environment for private businesses to thrive”.
“I dedicate the awards to all who dare to dream”, she stated. In all, over 20 companies were awarded in various categories including air freight, sea freight, courier service, cargo carrier, logistics and finance. In April, 2017, Madam Mintah, was awarded the “Chief Executive Officer of the Year 2016-Business and IT Consulting Services” Award at the prestigious Ghana Entrepreneur Awards 2016 held in Accra.
She was awarded for her outstanding achievement, vision, innovation and growth in the trade facilitation and customs modernisation in Ghana.
West Blue Achievements
Industry watchers were not surprised at the company picking the two prestigious awards at the just-ended event because of its track records in Ghana and abroad.
West Blue Consulting which Madam Mintah headed is the technical partner of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project which has been contracted by the Government of Ghana to run the five year project.
Initially, the company successfully developed and implemented the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) last year.
The PAARS, according to the senior officials is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies and promote trade facilitation.
Since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS last year, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours. In some cases, within an hour that is substantial improvement from the previous situation whereby it used to take traders more than a week or two weeks just to get their CCVR.
The system has brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time, reduced corruption, and cost of doing business.
Another significant achievement the company chalked was the country’s historic performance on the recent World Bank’s Ease of Doing rankings. Ghana had moved an impressive 13 places up on the Trading Across Borders in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report. The report accredited the performance to the GNSW project initiated by the government.
The Doing Business 2017 report, titled ‘’Equal Opportunity for All’, showed that Ghana was placed at position 108 out of 190 countries surveyed in the Overall Ranking of Ease of Doing Business – an improvement from 111 in the previous report.
In the sub-Saharan Africa sub-region, Ghana ranked in the Top 10, coming 9th, out of the 47 countries ranked in the region. This is evidence that the Government of Ghana is pursuing active reforms to ensure the Ease of Doing Business in Ghana.
The Customs Division of GRA took over the processing of the CCRV from the destination companies in September 2015.
The CCRV replaced the destination inspection report also known as the Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR). In spite of the successes chalked so far through the implementation of the PAARS, West Blue is still working hard to facilitate trade and maximise revenue for the government.
Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other countries, West Blue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.
Instructively, the GNSW project was initiated on 1st September 2015 by the Government of Ghana to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue.
It was officially launched in 1st December, 2015. Indeed, the Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.
UNECE, through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once”.