Stakeholders Sensitised On Electronic Clearance

Electronic Clearance PixClearing institutions have been advised to put stringent measures in place to control and monitor transactions on their systems when the electronic clearing system becomes fully operational in the country.

Speaking at a workshop here to conscientise stakeholders on how the new system works, Jonathan Ofori, Tradenet manager urged owners of clearing businesses to strictly monitor the user accessibility to prevent abuse of the system.

While the electronic or paperless clearing system is web-based which makes it possible to initiate clearing from a personal computer or tablet without necessarily being in the office, Tradenet is one of the software systems used in the clearing of goods in the country.

The workshop was organised by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) to, among other things, educate participants on how the system operates. It was also to point out mistakes in processing clearing documentation so as to speed up the clearing process.

The participants were clearing agents, importers, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) involved in the clearing of goods at the entry points, and Custom officials as well as officials of SIC Insurance Company.

Mr. Ofori explained that under the new system declarants would fill import declaration forms electronically and attach all relevant trade documents to destination inspection companies (DICs) which will in turn send the final classification and valuation report electronically to the relevant institutions.

Additionally, DICs will use e-mails, phone calls and short messaging service to inform declarants on queries.

Mr. Ofori also said MDAs that issue permits or exemptions before goods are cleared would do so electronically.

He therefore advised importers and clearing agents to start processing such documents early before their goods arrived at the ports to avoid delays.

Mr. Ofori encouraged participants to be conversant with the tariff interpretation order 2014/001 issued to explain the changes in tariffs arising from the 2014 budget statement and economic policy.

Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Wallace Akondor, said under the electronic system the Customs law will still be the basis for valuation of goods while on-the-spot examination would be done to clear any doubts.

He therefore, urged importers and clearing agents to be compliant to avoid delays.

Tema branch manager of GCNet, Jimmy Allotey, said management has installed 300 kv generators at all the company’s sites and also put measures in place to minimise downtime in their system.

In addition, he said the company had streamlined its operations in the transit of goods from Ghana to the landlocked countries.

Government in its determination to ensure a speedy clearance of goods, and reduce interaction between Customs and the trading community, among others, introduced the electronic clearance system which was rolled out on pilot basis at the Takoradi port in 2012.

The system was also introduced at the Kotoka International Airport in 2013 but roll out at other entry points is yet to begin.

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