Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has announced that some new measures designed to streamline operations at Ghana’s ports, will come into effect in July this year.
“Effective 1 July 2018, the number of agencies undertaking joint inspections at the port has been reduced from 16 to 3 (Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority and Customs). National Security or NACOB will join based on intelligence”, Dr Bawumia said on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 when he addressed the opening ceremony of the 4th Edition of the MOBEX Africa ICT Expo in Accra.
According to him, “The Compliance stage of the clearance process has been abolished since it has become redundant under the new system”, adding: “This function will be undertaken by the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB)”.
“We have established”, Dr Bawumia noted, “a taskforce to monitor the implementation of the paperless system at the ports on a daily basis and provide reports for action where bottlenecks arise.”
At the same event, the Vice-President also noted that the success of the Akufo-Addo government’s digitisation agenda depends as much on the robustness of the technology deployed as the people that would implement them.
“While we are on a mission to digitise Ghana, we have to be very aware that new systems will only be as good as the people who implement them. New systems disrupt the status quo and therefore one can expect push back from beneficiaries of the status quo. Our experience with the implementation of the paperless system at the ports is a case in point”, Dr Bawumia said.
He said “significant progress has been made. Data from GCNET indicates that over 40% of containers are cleared within 24 hours and about 70% of containers are cleared within 72 hours. While this an improvement, it is still not good enough for us.”
“It is clear that notwithstanding the new systems that have been implemented, there are concerted efforts to circumvent the paperless system both by customs officials and other government officials.
“I understand that some officials at the port are demanding documents from importers for stamping. This is ridiculous and should not happen under the new paperless regime. No official should demand from any importer documents (except the Way Bill and Bill of Lading) for stamping or any other purpose during the clearance process. All the relevant documents are online. It is only a ruse for corruption.”