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Business News of Thursday, 11 May 2017

Source: DAYBREAK

Carlos Ahenkorah 'undermines' the work of West Blue; lobbies for GCNet

Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah, a Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry has sparked some apprehension and controversy among stakeholders of the international business community especially those who trade in Ghana with his recent call on Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) to redouble its efforts to actualize Single Window operations in the country.

The Deputy Minister is the Chief Executive Officer of Carloking Freight, a registered freight and clearing company, recently in the news on allegations of causing revenue loss to Ghana, and his call on GCNet comes as a surprise to stakeholders because the government of Ghana has a contract with West Blue Ghana Consulting Services mandating it to operate the Single Window platform. It is therefore shocking that a deputy Minister would be urging another company to also take up Single Window.

Indeed West Blue has made enviable strides since it introduced the Single Window platform and has empirical evidence it has helped blocked leakages in government revenue as well as brought speed and transparency in trade facilitation and business transactions and Ghana’s ports.

Interestingly, the deputy Minister, speaking at a programme organized by GCNet last week said Ghana as a country is too small to operate two single window platforms, therefore, GCNet should speed up its efforts to start implementing Single Window.

The comments from the deputy Minister for Trade and Industry has been interpreted as a direct attempt to undermine the works of West Blue and also a clear opposition with attempts by the Ministry of Finance to build strong collaboration between the two institutions to close the gap to block revenue loopholes at the port.

GCNet must integrate system with West Blue

Just two weeks back, Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori- Atta, charged GCNet to work in close collaboration with West Blue to improve government’s revenue at the country’s ports.

He said GCNet should integrate its system with that of West Blue in order to deal with under valuation and misclassification at the ports.

Mr. Ofori- Atta gave this directive when GCNet paid dividend to government recently.

He expressed worry about the gap between West Blue and GCNet with regards to the Customs Classification and Verification Report (CCVR).

“The gap between West Blue and GCNet with regards to the Customs Classification and Verification Report (CCVR) sometimes become a worry and we hope that we resolve this,” the Finance Minister said and further called for strong collaboration between the two institutions to close the gap to block revenue loopholes at the port.

It is expected that GCNet would fully integrate its system with West Blue Consulting as part of the National Single Window process.

Under the National Single Window being implemented by West Blue Consulting in collaboration Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), all systems in the supply chain must be integrated so that importers would not attempt to falsify documents, under-declare and pay less for a consignment imported.

Carloking freight

The company is registered as one that offers freight and clearing services and is believed to belong to the Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Kingsley Carlos Ahenkora.

Checks on the company’s website, www.carloking.com, has the name of Kingsley Carlos Ahenkora as the Chief Executive.

Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyepong, recently announced on public television that the operations of Carloking has caused some huge financial loss to the state as the company’s activities led to some loss in government revenue. The loss is said to be in millions of dollars.

The Assin Central MP claimed he has documents to prove his allegation but has since not provided it and the claim has not proven beyond doubt. It is also not on record that the claim has been denied or challenged by the company.

West Blue Vs Revenue Loss

Since West Blue started operating the Single Window platform at Ghana’s ports, in collaboration with the Customs Division-Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), one of its bragging rights has been blocking losses in government revenues and if the allegation Ken Agyapong is making against Carloking is accurate, West Blue should have the data and be able to provide it for the anomaly to be corrected.

It has worked closely with the international governing bodies on trade facilitation in the implementation of the National Single Window in Ghana and the aim is to align Ghana to international best standard trade practices as required by the international governing bodies like World Customs Organization (WCO) which Ghana is signatory to.

Revenue collection by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has increased by more than 28 percent as at the end of 2016.

This increment is due to the introduction of the National Single Window Project which has been complementing the efforts of the Customs in harmonizing operations at the ports.

The introduction of the project has impacted positively on Ghana’s ease of doing business at the ports.

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