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Business News of Thursday, 18 February 2016

Source: B&FT

National Single Window gets stakeholders’ approval

Players in the sea-trade industry comprised of freight forwarders, importers and exporters, and related sector actors have praised the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and its technical partners West Blue Consult and GCNet for what they described as a “successful” implementation of the National Single Window’s first phase.

According to some stakeholders, components of the new system -- specifically the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) -- have significantly improved clearance time for goods at the ports, and has brought some relief to the industry.

Airfreight Director at Conship, Linda Vasnani, described the single window as one of the best things that has ever happened to the shipping industry.

“Obtaining an inspection report is key to the Customs clearance, and as such that process must be efficient; it must be fast and reliable.

“Now, once a freight forwarder generates his/her import declaration, its progress can be tracked from the beginning right to receipt of the CCVR. This is what the single window has brought to us as freight forwarders.”

According to her, unlike previously when it took her up to two weeks to obtain her Customs Classification and Valuation Reports (CCVRs), she was able to receive those documents within two days for about 95 percent of her shipment under the single window regime.

Another supporter of the new system is Albert Essien, Customs Representative for Mechanical Lloyd, who indicated that the new system is “better” and an “improvement” over the former regime.

Hitherto, he said, it took freight forwarders two weeks after submission of their IDF before they got a response, which creates inconvenience for them.

“Back then, if you had errors on the IDF you kept going back and forth; but with this new system after submission you get it the next day,” he said.

The single window system of goods clearance at the country’s ports came with the Customs takeover of the Destinations Inspection Companies’ (DICs) operations in August last year.

Chief Executive Officer of West Blues Consult -- implementer of the single window system -- Valentina Mintah has attributed the first phase of the project’s success to the sustained collaboration and support from various stakeholders operating in the port.