Paperless Ports Grabs GH¢230M

Vice President Dr. Mahamumu Bawumia

The implementation of the paperless clearance system at the country’s ports in the first week increased the collection rate by 56 percent, Vice President Dr. Mahamumu Bawumia has stated.

According to Dr. Bawumia, revenue increased from GH¢130 million to GH¢230 million within the first week of September 2017 as compared to the same week in September 2016.

The Vice President disclosed this yesterday in Accra at an orientation ceremony organized by the National Communications Authority (NC) for some 170 National Service Personnel (NSP), who have been posted to the Authority for the 2017/2018 service year.

The much-touted paperless clearance system at the Tema and Takoradi Ports took off Friday, September 1, 2017.

The paperless system was introduced to eliminate fraud and facilitate speedy clearance of goods at the various ports.

Initially, some freight forwarders, who complained that they did not fully understand the procedures, protested at the Tema Port.

Some were suspected to be using fake invoices and fictitious customs documents to clear consignments at the ports.

Dr. Bawumia, who used the occasion to officially launch the boot-camp for NCA, said those trying to frustrate the system made free money as a result of the high level of corrupt practices that were associated with the manual system, saying “it’s hurting a lot of people who were making a lot of free money.”

He said the manual system was fraught with corruption which compelled the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) to introduce the paperless system, bringing relief to importers but frustration for clearing agents on the other hand.

The Vice President said the move was to build a modern digital economy for Ghana and reduce clearing time at the ports, saying by the time the system is fully operational, importers should not take more than four hours to clear their containers.

According to him, Ghana was going digital in an address system and that by November this year the digital addressing system shall kick off to be followed by the national identity card scheme.

He urged the service personnel to take keen interest in information technologies and support the government in its drive to build a digital economy.

Scrap Service Fee

Meanwhile, Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, in a statement, urged managers of the National Service Scheme (NSS) to consider waiving the fee charged private institutions who take in service personnel annually.

That, she said, was because a lot of graduates come out annually and struggle to get institutions to do their service due in part to the refusal by private companies to accept service personnel posted to them due to fear of being made to pay fees for such personnel.

Meanwhile, Acting Director General of the NCA, Joe Anokye, said 12 of the service personnel shall be intensively trained by the Authority in cyber security, while others will also receive training to enhance NCA’s consumer outreach programmes.

By Melvin Tarlue