Business News of Wednesday, 9 August 2017
The Importers and Exporters Association fear government’s September 1, 2017, deadline for the full-scale implementation of the paperless regime at ports may be too much of them.
The Association has now suggested a piloting of the process at the Takoradi Port before full implementation begins in 2018.
The Executive Secretary of Association, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit, explained to Citi News that this course of action would allow them to address possible shortfalls.
He also noted that this would also prevent the Tema Port from encountering any critical hitches as a result of the programme.
“Already, the interdiction of customs officers, numbering about 180, is also affecting clearance process in the ports and “work that used to take 48 hours is not taking about one week or more,” he said.
“The September paperless should begin on a pilot basis. We can use the Takoradi port as a case study and correct the teething problems before we can go on full flow in 2018. We cannot use the Tema Port to joke because we all know a large volume of cargo imported into this country is cleared through Tema port.”
There is some skepticism on the part of the workers at the port, according to Mr. Awingobit, because they “are now going to learn and I am told that they are bringing custom officers from Dubai to come and support our customs officers to implement this first thing.”
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in May 2017 first urged all service agencies at the country’s ports to switch to a paperless system by September 2017 because the current system had too much human interaction and was at the mercy of corruption.
Addressing importers, customs officers, and other stakeholders at the Flagstaff House on August 2, Dr. Bawumia warned that terminals which are not ready for automation by the deadline would be left behind, and people who do not comply will be sanctioned.
“We will not accept any excuses,” he stated.