May 29, 2017
Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance have called for the integration of West Blue Consulting and Ghana Community Network Systems (GCNet) to achieve paperless ports.
Integrating their systems, according to the Committee, would enable them maximize revenue for the government and reduce the time and cost of transaction at the country’s ports.
The members of the committee made the call when they paid a working visit to West Blue Consulting, technical partners of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project, to abreast themselves of the company’s operations which boosted the Ghana Revenue Authority’s revenue in 2016.
The Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah said: “Both GCNet and West Blue are complementary. What I want to see is for them to be working together, for them to be integrating their networks and operations for the benefit of the country”.
Dr. Assibey-Yeboah, who is also the MP for New Juaben South in the Eastern Region said: “We have learnt about their operations. I think they are doing something good but I want to see their system integrate with that of GCNet and West Blue to achieve the paperless port. Once revenues are increasing we are fine”
The Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, assured that the Committee would be objective and do what is best for the country, reiterating the need for West Blue and GCNet to integrate to achieve a paperless port.
Achieving Paperless Port
On achieving Paperless Port, Chief Executive Officer of West Blue Consulting, Ms. Valentina Mintah said there are good systems in place to achieve that aim. “All we need is to integrate the systems so they can talk to each other. In terms of paperless we already have the e-payment platform in place where everybody is sharing. We have the registration for a number of key agencies, GSA, FDA to ensure that we have that shared.
The next thing that we need is the declaration and the post clearance all coming in. And we must work together to make this happen. We all need to identify our documents, the procedures and see how we share the existing systems and integrate.
She added that: “The good news is that GHAPOHA, GCNet, West Blue all have excellent system in place as well as customs. We just have to see how we integrate which is very possible”. We must all work together and respect the data to achieve a paperless transaction at the port.”
Ms. Mintah said trade efficiency is a key determinant of investment decisions by international businesses and the positioning of Ghana as a trade efficient and trade friendly country will greatly enhance its attractiveness to such investors.
Single Window Achievements
Presenting an update and achievements of the GNSW, Ms. Valentina Mintah said the implementation of the Single Window led to a 28.7 percent improvement in GRA-Customs revenue in 2016.
“Since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS last year, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours. In some cases, within an hour. That is substantial improvement from the previous situation whereby it used to take traders more than a week or two weeks just to get their CCVR,” Ms. Mintah said.
She said the system has brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time and cost of doing business, and as well minimized corruption at the port.
Ms. Mintah said Ghana has moved an impressive 13 places up on the Trading Across Borders league in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report, explaining that the report accredited the performance to the GNSW project initiated by the government in 2015.
The Doing Business 2017 report titled: “Equal Opportunity for All”, showed that Ghana was placed at position 108 out of 190 countries surveyed in the Overall Ranking of Ease of Doing Business – an improvement from 111 in the previous report. In the sub-Saharan Africa sub-region, Ghana was ranked 10th.