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Business News of Saturday, 2 September 2017

Source: Ghana Crusader

Can’t delay process - Gyebi Donkor tells freight forwarders

Officials of the Tema port have rejected pleas by the freight forwarders that the implementation of the paperless clearing system be postponed due to lack of education on the process.

The implementation of the policy which brought heated argument the day of its announcement, made the port authorities shift its schedule date from 1st September 2017, to September 2, 2017.

Some of the freight forwarders are arguing that, the paperless policy was a rush and needed massive sensitization to keep the public well informed on some of the disadvantages and the advantages of it, when rolled out.

Some are also of the view that, “it is a nice idea but we are appealing for it to be postponed for at least a year…If not, we will crash and will not know what to do,”

Another also retorted, “If the port officials are facing such challenges in this demonstration, how do they expect us to manage the situation when the challenges arise?”

The freight forwarders argue that the paperless system risks a major setback if government fails to address their concerns.

Some are pushing for the policy to be delayed until next year when the key concerns have been duly attended to.

But reacting to these assertions, the General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Marketing at the Tem port, Esther Gyebi Donkor maintained that the appeals could not be heeded to without the necessary approval.

“No new directive has come from the Presidency that the concerns by the freight forwarders have been considered so we will continue until we have any counter directive from the Presidency,” she explained.

The paperless clearing system is a directive from the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.

It is among others expected to reduce corruption by limiting the level of human interaction and also cut back on the turnaround time for businesses clearing their goods.

The successful implementation of the policy is also expected to improve Ghana’s ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business.

The country is expected to inch up higher from the current 108th position it occupied in the 2016 ease of doing business ranking.

The Corporate Affairs Manager further indicated that the inconsistency in a preferred date by the importers and clearing agencies also defeats their calls albeit partially.

“It is the same old thing that the freight forwarders have been saying for the past weeks but for us we know we have had enough training and that the process would have to start from somewhere. Even the protests have not been consistent with a proposed date as each one is giving their own suggestions.”

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Customs, Mr. Isaac Crentsil has assured that his outfit will continue training the various stakeholders to reduce any level of apprehension.

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