Business News of Saturday, 5 August 2017
The Ministry of Finance has given approval to the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) to develop an information technology (IT) hub that will link the transactions of all cargo service agencies and customs officials in the country.
The IT platform will enable the GACL to monitor the activities of all cargo service companies to ensure efficiency and avoid misrepresentation of transactions.
The Director of Commercial Services, Mr Stephen Kofi Yeboah, said the IT platform would enable cargo service companies and customs officials to access the transactions of all companies in the chain to facilitate the processing of documents and release of cargo to owners.
He was speaking in Accra during a working visit by members of the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee of Parliament to the company last Thursday.
The members were at the GACL to ascertain the preparedness of the company in meeting the September 1, 2017 paperless transaction deadline that Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia had given to all companies in the air and sea cargo services.
The members also visited Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), Aviance Cargo Services and Swissport Cargo Services.
Mr Yeboah said the Finance Ministry had also contracted a consultant to guide the development of the IT platform to ensure its security.
He said once the IT platform was developed, any transaction that a cargo service company or customs officials would conduct, would reflect in the central IT platform.
Therefore, he said, customs officials could instantly ascertain information on cargo from service companies and vice versa.
He said the GACL was on track to meeting the September 1, 2017 deadline for paperless transaction.
GCNet, Aviance and Swissport
At GCNet, the Project Development Officer of the company, Mr Carl Sackey, said the paperless transaction was taken to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) but there was a challenge transferring the system to the Tema Port.
He said the company was working round the clock to ensure complete transition to the paperless transaction by September 1, 2017.
At Aviance, the General Manager in charge of operations, Mr Chris Kaighin, said the company had an IT platform that captured information from the manifest to match up with the airway bill.
He said after data was verified with the customs, Aviance had a platform where its system communicated with the GCNet system.
At Swissport, the Cargo Manager, Mr Chris Goodsir, said the systems of the company were IT compliant, which facilitated its operations.
The Chairman of the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee, Nana Amaniampong Marfo, for his part, said as the first port of call for people entering the country, the ports could not continue to do business as usual; hence, the need for them to use IT to facilitate their work.
He expressed satisfaction with the measures put in place by all the companies to meet the September 1, 2017 deadline for paperless transaction, and indicated that the committee would continue to monitor the process.