Port operators meet MPs over paperless transaction

Mr Titus-Glover

Mr Titus-Glover

Industry players in Ghana’s ports and harbours circles are racing against time to meet the September 1, 2017, deadline for a paperless transaction at the ports but expressed the confidence that the deadline would be met.

The Vice President, Dr Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, as part of government’s commitment to formalising the economy, directed that all agencies operating at the port synchronised to make transactions at the port paper free to curb corruption.

According to Dr Bawumia, the inefficiencies and man-made bottlenecks have direct bearings on revenue collection and encouraged collusion among importers, clearing agents and customs officials to exploit the system at the port.

He explained that the reforms would help reduce the cost of doing business as far as the private sector was concerned, especially at the level of the port.

In furtherance of this commitment, the agencies met the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee in Parliament on Tuesday, to update it on steps being taken to meet the deadline.

Some of the agencies at the meeting included the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, West Blue and GCNet.

Briefing the media after the meeting, committee chair, Daniel Nii Titus-Glover said, “all the stakeholders have firmed up their commitment that come September, they will take off.”

The project, however, he said would be piloted by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority before it is finally rolled out in September.

According to Titus-Glover, what would make the programme successful is compliance and enforcement because there are existing electronic platforms which support paperless transactions at the port.

He said during their interaction with the industry players, it emerged that there were issues of the lack of information sharing and integrity of people who work at the ports.

“There is the need for people importing into our country to be transparent. They must hold their integrity because we need money to run this country, so if people under declare, making it difficult for the CEPS to come out with the right value, it makes it a difficult thing for all of us,” he said, appealing to stakeholders to be guided by truthfulness.

In his view, the effective collaboration of GCNet and West Blue in attaining the target could not be underestimated and urged both of them, electronic platforms spearheading the move, to collaborate for effective execution of the paperless agenda.

The Product Development Manager at GCNet, Carl Sackey, speaking with The Ghanaian Times said the agencies were on track in view of the September 1 deadline, but want strict enforcement when it is finally rolled out.

This is because in 2013, Ghana hatched the idea of going paperless and implemented same, but had to go back to the old ways because industry players felt uncomfortable with the new system with implementers failing to enforce the paperless regime, Mr Sackey noted.

He said there were some few changes to be done to the established electronic system introduced in 2013 and pledged of GCNet’s commitment to working with all stakeholders for that dream of going paperless at the ports to be achieved.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

 

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