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Business News of Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Source: Eye on Port

Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism review Paperless process

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism has visited the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority to ascertain how successful the paperless project has been at the Tema Port since its commencement on September 1, 2018.

The visit was also to update committee members on issue surrounding the implementation of the project.

The Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, in welcoming the committee members said the Ports is experiencing a transition period with critical attention now on how to augment the export sector.

He said the revised tariffs implemented by the Port Authority is the foremost step to encourage the export sector.

“As at last year, we registered about 6.5 million tonnes of export whereas we handled 14.1 million tonnes of cargo of imports and that is a very disturbing trend for any country’s trade”, he lamented. The DG of GPHA said with an integrated cooperative strategy between all stakeholders and operators in the export business, he is certain the Export sector would yield fortunes for the nation. “Our aim is to develop an integrated strategy to be implemented by the stakeholder community for the first five years,” Paul Ansah said. General Manager for Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Esther Gyebi-Donkor, said revenue has been increased since the Paperless was introduced for both GPHA and Customs.

“Every year our traffic increases but I’m looking at the exponential increase between 2016 and 2017 and saying that probably this also has contributed to it,” she said. She indicated that achievements attained include substantial reduction in delays with regards to clients requesting for terminal charges, adding that the electronic process has ensured that customers only pay for services provided.

“Our clients go on that platform, make a request to take delivery of the containers and then our invoicing system automatically generates the invoice for them in their offices, wherever they are, without coming to the premises of GPHA”, she apprised.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee said he is impressed with the collaboration that has ensued between the stakeholders, adding that the future is bright to get perfect the system.

He admonished the operators of the system to expedite implementation strategies and training programs in order to contribute their best to the smooth running of the system.

“With this system, in place, you know that we are taking the human intervention as much from it. For now, we say, it is okay but there are a lot of things that we need to improve upon”, he opined.

The MP for Tema East and the Deputy Minister for Transport, Daniel Nii-Kwartei Titus-Glover urged shippers to be sincere in their dealings to assist the operators in the port to execute the system well.

“It is our duty to make sure that we support government in the payment of taxes to provide the service that we want him to do for us,” he stated.

Members of the Committee were accompanied to the terminals to practically examine the challenges on the ground.

At the Meridian Ports Services, some agents complained that sometimes, customs take too long to inspect their goods, with the procedure sometimes degenerating into the next day.

“Sometimes, you can go even to release, to book an appointment and it would take you about 4 hours. They’ll ask you to go to the office, and come later on,” an agent shared.

The Customs Officer in charge explained that this is as a result of internet service delays.

“There are times that the system checkup, that we send information through, doesn’t work”.

Members of the committee proceeded to the Tema Container Terminal, where the General Manager of the terminal, Amos Fiifi Okyereh briefed the committee on how the paperless system works there.