The implementation of the National Single Window and Paperless Port System at the country’s sea ports is gradually yielding positive results to the admiration of importers and stakeholders.
Analysis of the Monthly Import Performance of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) between 2015 and mid-year 2018 shows that revenue realized from imports has been increasing year-on-year.
The growth in revenue realized from imports over the period can largely be attributed to the strengthening of the Single Window System at the country’s ports in September 2015 when West Blue Consulting was brought onboard to complement the efforts of GCNet, and the recent implementation of the Paperless Port System at the country’s sea ports, spearheaded by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.
Total import revenue realized for half year 2015 was GHȼ3,584.11 million, which increased to GHȼ4,330.26 million by June 2016.
A further increase from GHȼ4,330.26 million in June 2016 to GHȼ5,252.43 in June 2017 was recorded.
For the first half of this year, about GHȼ5,798.76 million has been collected for the state from importers.
The GRA projects a 30 percent growth in revenue by close of the year.
Achievement so far
Some of the achievements of the paperless system since its introduction are that it has cut the number of port inspection agencies from 16 agencies to three (GRA-Customs Division, GSA, FDA) to reduce clearing time.
The paperless port has also saved Ghana some $500 million since its implementation in 2016, according to a report by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS).
Payment of demurrage decreased by 17.5% in 2017, according to Ghana Shippers Authority while internal custom barriers on all the transit corridors have been removed.
The Long Room and human interventions in port transactions have been eliminated.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated that the numerous reforms at the country’s sea trade sector have minimized corruption and increased government’s revenue over the last few years.
According to him, the huge investments and interventions at the country’s ports were borne out of the sector’s contribution to the socio-economic development of the country, hence the need to continually improve upon the gains made in the sector.
Addressing the 39th Council and Conference of the Port Managers of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) hosted by the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) in Accra, he said: “We are convinced that the port industry, if properly managed, could serve as the engine of growth for the economy. The reserve is that it could serve as hot bed for corruption.
Some importers, who spoke to the paper, praised the vice president for the ongoing paperless reforms at the port, which is already yielding massive results.
They urged government to do everything possible to make the paperless ports work by supporting the existing vendors (West blue and GCNet), as well as other stakeholders to deliver.
They warned that any attempt by government to disrupt the ongoing process would spell doom for the ports and the country as whole.
By Samuel Boadi