The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has said it plans to extend the ongoing paperless clearance of goods at the country’s ports to cover exports and transit trade, even as it tightens processes at the imports section.
According to the ports operator, it intends to fully explore the paperless regime to improve overall productivity of the country’s seaports, hence the need to spread its coverage.
“We have made some progressive progress with the paperless port regime. We started with imports, but we will be looking at export and transit trade aspects as well.
“The paperless transactions at the port have come to a point of no retreat, because that system of goods clearance has helped boost revenue as well as enhance port efficiency,” Director-General of the GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, indicated to journalists in Tema.
The paperless clearance regime, which took off at the country’s ports from September 1 last year, has streamlined the inspection of cargo, promoted electronic-based valuation and documentation as well as eliminated numerous borders along the country’s trade corridors.
Shifting business transactions at the country’s two seaports from manual to electronic-based clearance, the system was introduced to tackle the issues of revenue slippages, delays in goods clearance and the high cost of doing business within the port community.
Enforcing strict compliance
The GPHA has also come out clearly that it will not relent on ensuring a flawless paperless regime this year, and looks forward to the unwavering cooperation of all stakeholders – with specific mention of clearing agents.
Though the paperless exercise took off amid a number of challenges, the GPHA boss stressed that such a situation was expected as it takes between 6-9 months to run the system flawlessly.
According Mr. Ansah, the authority will take tough action against any clearing agency or individual whose activity seeks to distract/disrupt smooth operation of the paperless regime.
“Any Custom house agent or clearing agency that is caught doing any fraudulent activity in the paperless regime will be driving themselves out of business at the port; no doubt about that.
“So, those who are offering their platform to ‘goro boys’ who are known to engage in fraud should be warned. When they are caught, their licence will be withdrawn. We will not relent in ensuring a flawless paperless regime in 2018,” he noted.