The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Petroleum Operations at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Baffour Yaw Anane Asare, has revealed that the Time Release Study to be undertaken by Customs will give Ghana’s ports a competitive advantage over its peers.
He believes landlocked countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger will find Ghana’s Ports more attractive, hence, channel their imports through them.
Contributing to a discussion on Eye on Port on ensuring speedy clearance of goods through effective customs administration, he said the study will, among other things, identify bottlenecks in the clearance chain for remedial actions to be taken to address them.
He said the study will make stakeholders in the clearance chain more efficient in the discharge of their duties since their productivity will be measured. He said the study will reduce the clearance time, as well as cost of doing business.
Mr. Anane Asare said the Time Release Study is a trade facilitation tool recommended by the World Customs Organisation for member-countries to measure the time it takes for goods to be cleared out of customs jurisdiction.
Also contributing to the discussion, the President of the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana (ACHAG), Mr. Yaw Kyei, said even though Ghana has come far in terms of the clearance of goods at the ports, the Time Release Study will consolidate the gains that have been made so far.
He said the freight forwarder fraternity welcomes the study, adding that it was imperative for the country to determine how much time is required to clear goods at the ports.
He said freight forwarder have been duly engaged for the study, hence, they are ready to contribute meaningfully toward the success of the study.
“We also have some role to play to see to it that when the vessel arrives, we will be able alert the importers to pay their duties to quicken the process. So we are very glad about the Time Release Studies, and I believe that it will put all of us on our toes so we know the actual time we use to clear a consignment,” he said.
Mr. Anane Asare explained that questionnaires would be administered to organisations and stakeholders who play key roles in the port industry, and their feedback would be collated for the necessary actions to be taken.
He mentioned some of the organisations which would be involved with the studies as Customs, Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ghana Standards Authority, Ghana Airports Company Limited, Aviance, and Freight forwarders, among others.
The Deputy Commissioner said currently, it is likely for goods to be cleared within 12 hours provided all the documents are in the possession of the importer.
This assertion was corroborated by Mr. Yaw Kyei, who said it’s possible to clear goods from 6am to 6pm same day provided there are no encumbrances.
Outlining some of the challenges that the study may likely encounter, he said one of them could be attempts to suppress information, especially when the information is not available electronically.
“We are going to put it to strict scrutiny so that the result that we get would be something close to reality,” he said.
He said stakeholder engagements have been very positive as they have been cooperative and eager to see the study done.