Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says the most remarkable part of the paperless ports project was that government did not have to spend a penny on it, congratulating all stakeholders, including the Ghana Community Network (GCNet) Services Limited, for seeing to its smooth take-off.
According to the Vice President, the government was indeed grateful to all who played a role in allowing the paperless port project see the light of day, meeting the September 1st deadline that was set.
He was speaking at the opening of the 6th edition of the International Single Window Conference being held in Accra under the theme ‘Trade facilitation Agreement and E-Commerce Development: The Role of Single Window as Catalyst’.
The Vice President said ambitious as the project was when it was mooted, all stakeholders have worked “very hard” to see to its successful roll out.
“The Customs, shippers, service providers at the ports – including GCNET, have worked very, very, hard and we have actually been able, as of September 1st, to launch the paperless project in the ports in Ghana. You all deserve commendation,” he said.
“And, fundamentally, we did this by streamlining processes; the systems were there but they were still very manual. So, we looked at how to go about it and got best advice from others on how to do it. This led to the streamlining of the processes, and we made sure that these processes that we are now implementing were largely paperless. This, I must say, has been remarkable; and though it is a big project, it has come off very well thanks to the collaborative effort of GRA, Ministry of Finance, Trade, Service providers including GCNET and West Blue, among others,” Dr. Bawumia said.
As part of efforts to ensure smooth transactions at the ports and also curb the increasing rate of corruption, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in May 2017 gave three directives, including the removal of all Customs barriers on the country’s transit corridor; joint inspections by all regulatory agencies at the ports; and one hundred percent paperless transactions at the ports to boost port efficiency and improve trade in the country.
These directives were earmarked to begin on September 1, 2017 with the Vice President drumming home the order by instructing the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) to be conscious of the take-off.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia said: “We are also to facilitate trade in the sub-region, by removing all internal Customs barriers and redeploying personnel to more critical operational areas. As part of trade facilitation, we announced, on May first, that by September 1, 2017, all Customs barriers internally should have been removed. In fact, before September 1, all barriers in Ghana were removed.”
“Our goal as the government of Ghana is to build the most business-friendly environment in Africa. In pursuing this, we have taken steps to bring discipline into the management of our economy since we came into office some nine months ago. This provides a stable and predictable environment for businesses to invest and to grow. Recent business and financial reports show that these interventions are yielding the desired results, and we will continue.”He further stated.
“Achieving microeconomic stability is the first step, and currently we are embarking on the paperless port project which is one of them.” That;s according to the Vice President.