The implementation of the National Single Window and Paperless Port System at the country’s sea ports is gradually yielding 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, show that the amount of 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 WestBlue Consulting was brought on-board to compliment 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, this paper gathered, was GHȼ3,584.11 million. This however, increased to GHȼ 4,330.26 million by June 2016.
A further increase from GH¢4,330.26 million in June 2016 to GH¢5,252.43 in June 2017 was recorded.
For the first half of this year, about GH¢5,798.76 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 has cut the number of Port inspection agencies from 16 agencies to 3 (GRA-Customs Division, GSA, FDA) to reduce clearing time.
The paperless port has also saved Ghana $500 million since its implementation in 2016, according to a report by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS).
Payment in demurrage has decreased by 17.5% in 2017, according to Ghana Shippers Authority.
Internal custom barriers on all the transit corridors have been removed.
Human interventions in port transactions has been eliminated as well as the Long Room.
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 on-going paperless reforms at the port which is already yielding massive results.
They urged government to do all it can to make the paperless ports work by supporting the existing vendors (West blue and GCNet) as well as the other stake holders to deliver.
They warned that any attempt by government to disrupt the on-going process will spelt doom for the port and the country as whole.