The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaki Awingobet, has said exporters and importers still face challenges clearing goods at the ports, despite the introduction of the paperless system.
The government introduced the paperless system to among others, speed up the process of clearing goods at the ports from two weeks to four hours,
Speaking to Citi News, Mr. Awingobet, however indicated that contrary to claims by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority that it had achieved a 99 percent paperless operational system, importers and exporters still encounter challenges.
“One year down the lane, I still get complaints that there are under-declaration and undervaluation in the ports. The aim of clearing goods at the port within four hours did not meet that objective as well, because we can only clear goods within our port within three to five days but four hours is not possible…”
The Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager of GPHA, Mrs. Esther Gyebi-Donkor on Eyewitness News, also admitted to these challenges, adding that government is still in the process of getting a management system which will ensure that goods are cleared at a faster rate.
“The four hours as was projected by the Vice President was supposed to come with a very robust management system which they are still working on.”
The paperless clearing system was started on September 1, 2017, following a directive by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that the port authorities automate all processes to reduce human interaction.
The move was aimed at reducing turnaround time for businesses and eliminating corruption.
According to the Vice President, revenue increased from GHc130 million in the first week of September 2016, to GHc213 million in the same period for 2017.
Gov’t sets up a task-force to monitor the paperless system
The government earlier established a task-force to monitor the implementation of the paperless system at the ports on a daily basis.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also indicated that the team was also provide reports on daily activities at the ports.
Explaining the move to Citi News, Economic Adviser to the Vice President, Dr. Gideon Boako, said the task-force would give government first-hand information in addressing issues at the ports.
“We think that there ought to be a body that watches over the watchman, and this will be the task-force that will feed the seat of government with real-time information and data on daily basis or weekly basis or bi-weekly basis so the government can be on top of the issues or happenings at the ports.”