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Consignees Must Give Accurate Information for Paperless System

By
Belinda Ayamgha, GNA
  

Accra, Aug. 23, GNA –
Ms Esther Gyebi-Donkor, General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Affairs at
the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, says the nation’s single window system
will only work if consignees commit to giving accurate information on their
consignments.

She said the various
systems that would be working in the window should trust each other in order
for the system to work.

She was speaking to a
delegation of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), who
paid a visit to the Tema Port to engage officials on a study done by the
Chamber.

Ms. Gyebi-Donkor
explained that inaccurate information on the manifest, part of consignees,
would mean that Customs and other agencies at the Port would have to perform
physical examinations of consignments; which would perpetuate the challenge of
delays that the single window was meant to address.

“The system will not
be successful if a lot more containers have to be physically examined. We have
to trust each other so that most boxes can be allowed to go out without
physical examination”.

She took the
delegation through changes made by the port authority in line with the
directive by the Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to improve efficiency at the
port and to ensure mandatory joint inspections where necessary, and in
preparation for the commencement of the paperless transactions in September,
2017.

The directive, she
noted, was in line in with the GPHA’s own initiatives meant to increase
efficiency at the ports.

Briefing the
delegation on progress made towards the paperless system, Ms Gyebi- Donkor said
the new system, when implemented in September, would see users of the port who
receive consignments using the GCNET and the West Blue online platforms to
perform the tasks that they currently do manually at the Revenue Centre of the
port, from the comfort of their offices or homes.

These include checking
whether the container is in the possession of the GPHA and whether the Delivery
Order (DO) had been issued by the shipping lines, to allow them clear the
container.

They could also
receive an invoice and then queue at the two banks at the Revenue Centre to
effect payments, and then deposit request (DO) to indicate that they will take
deliver the next day.

“Effective September,
all these will be done via the GCNET Window, using the Port’s issued Biometric
ID cards. Consignees will also be able to receive their invoice via an
automatic billing system that will be put in the window, and can pay at the
branches of ADB, GCB and Ecobank”.

She noted that more
banks would be added to the platform subsequently but only the three would be
covered at the start of the project in September. Customers can also pay online
via mobile money.

Nana Appiagyei
Dankawoso I, President of the GNCCI, said the Chamber, with the BUSAC Fund, had
undertaken a study on the three main sea ports in response to concerns raised
about the difficulty of doing business there.

Challenges identified
in the study include long container dwell times at the two main ports, with
Takoradi having a dwell time of 25 days and Tema 20 days.

These, he said
compared unfavourably to dwell times in the comparator Ports like Durban-four
days, Mombasa-11 days, Dar El salaam-14 days and Lome-18 days.

Others are high
charges due to multiplicity of institutions, and the payment of port rent
charges.

While lauding the Paperless
system to be implemented in September, he called for increased sensitisation on
the issue to get all stakeholders on board.

He said transparency
in the process was important and urged the GPHA to ensure everyone was on the
same platform.

He also stressed the
need for collaboration with their stakeholders to promote trade facilitation as
private sector players, especially those who took loans to clear their goods,
depended on efficiency at the Ports to successfully build their businesses.

Mr Edward Osei,
Director of Ports at the GPHA, who welcomed the delegation, assured them that
GPHA was doing everything in preparation for the paperless system.

GNA

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