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Business News of Tuesday, 22 August 2017


No job losses as paperless ports kicks off - Authorities

There is not going to be any job losses with the rolling of a paperless system at the country’s ports.

That is the assurance from port authorities ahead of the implementation of the paperless system at the ports.

This is expected to ease the apprehension among some stakeholders with the reduction of human interface in the clearing of goods at the ports.

The General Manager in charge of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the GPHA, Mrs Esther Gyebi-Donkor admits that though there will be some collapse in some auditorial functions in the clearing process, there will be a realignment of the affected personnel.

“The staff’s operations will be integrated at the back office and they will be operating from there. As a result, they will not be engaging in human interface while others will be deployed…None of our staff is going to be affected in terms of employment. Even though we are going to reduce the human interface, no jobs will be lost,” she told Citi Business News.

Responding to a similar question on possible job losses, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Policy and Programs at the Ghana Customs, Mr. Richard Yawtse responded in the negative.

Rather, he explains to Citi Business News his outfit will be increasing the staff strength considering the high death rate associated with the stress in the current system.

“As to whether the system will create unemployment for Custom officers, the answer is No… Already we are heavily understaffed and if you look at the statistics of the dying rate in the customs service, the numbers of death rate of our staff are so high and they are within 39 to 45 years,” the Deputy Commissioner stated.

Mr. Yawtse added, “This means that we are putting too much stress on them so we need to expand a little bit. This will help us lessen the burden on officers and which are killing the numbers.”

Agencies work to meet deadline

With about a week to the September 1 deadline, the various port agencies are racing against time to adopt the paperless systems at the ports.

The Vice President in an address on port efficiencies in May 2017 emphasized that the corruption at the ports has reached alarming levels.

This he argued warranted that the government cuts down on the number of workers as efforts are geared at reducing the human interaction.

The paperless system is among others aimed at reducing the turnaround time for importers.

Government is also seeking to reduce the revenue losses associated with the high human interface currently being employed.

Paperless system to reward and punish accordingly

For the Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the paperless system will reward complying importers while duly punishing recalcitrant ones.

“Reducing delays at the ports will result in a better rewarding facility for declarants who willfully and voluntarily comply with truthful, accurate and genuine documentation. A very fair and transparent system of classification and valuation of imported commodities; sanctioning those who will be non-compliant and willfully attempt to defraud the nation of the needed revenue required to finance the needed development,” he remarked.

It is worth noting that the paperless system is but one of the three key targets outlined by the Vice President in making Ghana competitive.

The two others include a joint inspection at the ports as well as removal of all custom barriers that hinder the effective movement of goods across the country’s internal borders.

The ultimate implementation of all these is also expected to increase Ghana’s competiveness in the World Bank’s ease of doing business which currently places the country at the 108th out of 190 countries surveyed.