GSA Organises Stakeholders’ Forum On One Year Of Paperless Operation

Stakeholders in Ghana’s trade and maritime industry have gathered to assess the Paperless Port clearance initiative after a year of its implementation.

Ghana Shippers’ Authority, being the primary institution responsible for promoting the interest of shippers, assembled representatives of the various stakeholders of the paperless system to review their performances so far and address identified challenges for the future.

The Chairman of the program, Dr. Oteng Gyasi, in his opening remarks, said the Paperless system at the Ports of Ghana has been a beneficial initiative. He called for a concerted effort among key players towards providing a suitable end goal for the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shipper’s Authority, Benonita Bismarck indicated that although it has been widely accepted that the Paperless Port clearance initiative has been very successful, there have been some challenges that hinder the realization of its full potential.

She expressed faith that the assembling of key stakeholders of the system gives the appropriate platform to address these hindrances in order to achieve the ideals of the Paperless initiative.

The Director-General of Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Luguje, stated that the Paperless system is endowed with so many beneficial facets to the trade and maritime industry.

He said the trade industry is a life-long dynamic sector and entreated stakeholders of the system, to endeavor to continue to be dynamic in their approach in order to reap the full benefits of the system.

Emmanuel Ohene, the Accra Connexion Sector Commander of the Customs Division of GRA, who represented the Commissioner of Customs, said Ghana has reaped several benefits ever since the introduction of the paperless clearance system, mentioning a reduction in clearance time, elimination of human interference, reduction of fraudulent activities, and ease of doing business as some of its achievements.

He said investment into capacity building is one of the ways to take the paperless to a higher standard.


Stakeholders Brainstorm On 1 Year Of Paperless Port System

Meanwhile, the various stakeholders who play a part in the paperless clearance chain, presented accounts of their inputs as well as challenges faced so far.

The Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager of GPHA, Esther Gyebi-Donkor said the introduction of paperless has eliminated the Tema Port revenue center, which housed a lot of daunting paper transactions, giving birth to an online platform integrated with service providers and allied banks, which has gone a long way to improve the ease of doing business.

She indicated however, that the lack of uniformity with the manifest of shipping lines as well as complications with the JIMIS have been major challenges to GPHA’s services. She expressed faith that collaborations with stakeholders would ensure an adequate remedy is put in place.

The Accra Connexion Sector Commander of the Customs Division of GRA, Emmanuel Ohene, said the Vice President’s directive of the mandatory joint examination, has been successful which has sped up the clearance process.

He also noted that the electronic submission of documents through the PAARS has made transactions more efficient and improved error detection.  

Service providers, West blue and GC-Net said they have collaborated with Customs and GPHA to provide a seamless clearance flow, while possessing a robust risk management system.

Their systems have ensured improved ease of doing business, and transparency in the clearance process.

Carl Sackey, Product Development Manager of GC-Net said, improvement in some trade practices by importers would facilitate their work of reducing clearance times.

They expressed that with regards to the occasional downtimes, they continue to improve their systems to reach the objectives of the system.

Adam Imoro Ayarna, Ship Owners Association of Ghana, said paperless has increased turnaround time of vessels, and the overall stress involved in dealing with customers has reduced significantly.

He charged Ghana to revamp the export sector which would benefit both shipping lines and the Ghanaian economy. 

GUTA expressed pleasure in the paperless system, noting that there is still room to improve.

Yaw Kyei, President of ACHAG, said the paperless has improved the work of freight forwarders.

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