Business News of Friday, 8 September 2017
The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has indicated that the stakeholder engagements on the implementation of the paperless port system was not vigorous, inadequate and failed to meet the expectation of those involved.
An executive member of GUTA Mr. Benjamin Yeboah speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the training session organized for hundreds of clearing agents, terminal operators and exporters in Tema was not enough hence the implementation should be halted until all the stakeholders gain enough understanding of the process.
He insisted that GUTA and other stakeholders are not satisfied with the training and explanation. According to him, they would be grateful if the implementation is suspended and the training is extended to get everyone on the same page with the paperless system.
Background In May 2017, the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia gave three directives at a port efficiency conference he organised to improve trade in the country.
The directives included the removal of all customs barriers on the country’s transit corridor, a joint inspection by all regulatory agencies at the ports and a hundred percent paperless transactions at the ports. “Effective 1st September the ports of Ghana are going 100 percent paperless.
Customs take notice GPHA take notice” The Vice President pronounced. He followed up with an official road map of the paperless process flow to guide the operators and agencies in the port clearance chain.
Ahead of the implementation of the directives, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, GCNet, West Blue Consulting, customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Shippers Authority, the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and a host of other stakeholder institutions including the freight forwarding associations embarked on several engagements with importers and freight forwarders to educate them on what they need to expect and changes that have been made on their systems.
IT systems reliability and sustenance The Information Technology Systems providers for the paperless processes who are mainly West Blue Consulting Limited and Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) expressed satisfaction with the successful take-off of the Vice President’s paperless Port Directive.
The IT Systems providers said with the new electronic systems of clearing import goods at the Port, Compliant Traders are to benefit from with their goods cleared hours within the new established KPIs.
All Green/Compliant transactions as passed by the Risk Engine, will process their customs Release, Port Request for Delivery Allowed, Port and Terminal Payments, Way Bill, Loading and existing within 4hours.
The paperless Port Reform rewards Importers and Agents who present genuine and legible supporting documents before the arrival of the vessel or flight, in line with the existing Pre Arrival Assessment Reporting Process.
All illegitimate freight forwarders or clearing agents are also being urged to register with recognized and registered clearing or freight forwarding agency in order to harness the full benefit of an automated clearing procedures at the Ports.