Stakeholders Evaluate Impact Of 2 Years Of West Blue’s Operations In Ghana’s Maritime Trade

Ms Valentina Mintah, CEO of West Blue Consulting

Stakeholders in the Ports’ clearance process chain and the trading public have argued that West Blue consulting has made significant strides in Ghana’s maritime trade in the last two years that it supported Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to take over the job of destination inspect, classification, valuation and risk management.

West Blue Consulting on 1st September, 2015 awarded a contract by government of Ghana to provide technical assistance to the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to take over the Classification, Valuation and Risk Management functions from 5 Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) who operated at Ghana’s ports following government’s directives for the DICs to hand over.

West Blue introduced the Pre Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PARRS) as part of a broader Ghana National Single Window project which significantly reduced the time and cost of doing cross border trade and business generally at Ghana’s Ports.

It is reported, that Prior to the arrival of West Blue Consulting ltd in Ghana, it took an average of two weeks for Customs Classification and Valuation (CCVR) to be ready but upon West Blue’s entrants CCVR now takes a maximum of 48 hours and a minimum of 2 hours to be ready as a result of the PAARS implementation.

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaki noted that since Customs took over from the Destination Inspection Companies, with the assistance of West Blue as their technical partners it has reduced the stress that importers use to go through.

“I must say that, whiles it has reduced the stress, definitely it will reduce the cost of businesses in the country, because if you have to burn fuel in and out, those things were automatically taken out,” he said.

The Airfreight Director of Conship, Linda Vasnani posited that once importers were able to process or generate their import declaration they could actually track its progress from the beginning, right to the end.

“Initially, if we need to track it, we need to be sending emails to the inspection companies, they will have to send us responses at their own convenience, but now, you can track it from beginning to end when there are rejections. It shows immediately and the reason for the rejection is shown, so that you can actually work on it and then do the resubmission,” she said.

The President of GUTA, Barima Dr. Ofori Ameyaw I said “all in all, I can say that they have done what they could to assist Customs transformation in our country.”

The National Single Window system also yielded positive results, as the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority exceeded its revenue target for 2015, following significant improvement in the processes at the port.

Through the technical support provided by West Blue, customs was able to process 500 Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) per day compared to 200 Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR) being processed by the five Destination Inspection Companies in the past.

The CEO of Saphlda Ventures Ltd, Adolph Tetteh explained averred that the PAARS came to move our work forward.

“It has really helped us in terms of time, cost and so many things,” he said.

An Import Member of Wire Weaving, Isaac Nat Korsah said repetition of information when one is applying for the CCVR, was eliminated “so it made our work very quicker.”

“We have now become believers because some of us were sceptical but you have been able to explain the thing to us in a very simple manner to the extent that all this cynicism actually disappeared”, a former Ranking Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Industry, Professor George Gyan-Baffour said during a visit to West Blue consulting.

Stakeholders believe there had been considerable improvement in the turnaround time as documents are processed within 48 hours or less as opposed to between five and 10 days under the previous regime of the Destination Inspection Companies.

“We are impressed with the achievements made. The pre-arrival assessment reporting system, has reduced the time of import classification and valuation,” the President of AGI, James Asare-Adje said.

They also maintained that the Single Window pursued by West Blue allowed Ghanaian importers and exporters to electronically lodge their documents, including customs declarations, certificates of origin, invoices at a single location to be accessed by all regulatory and trade agencies, instead of sending copies of the same documents to different agencies.

“It helps to raise the tempo of the kind of quality services that we expect on ICT platforms to deliver to us and as was evident, the World Bank indicators came up with much more appreciable levels than a year before,” the President of GIFF, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah averred.

“In relation with the Single window, there was a portal, that were linked to all the institutions either of Trade, Agriculture, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Board, Environmental Protection Agency to the extent that, with the press of a button, everybody gets information and reports back, and so it was reducing the cost of business at the port,” the President of GUTA, Barima Dr. Ofori Ameyaw I said.

They also believe that the e-zones set up by West Blue to provide useful information to importers and traders was a positive move.

“The e-zones also brought very refreshing bit of hope to us, when we know that, even on the field, you could have areas you could go to have your problems solved, so you would not have to go and come back to the offices”, the President of GIFF, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah reiterated.

The President of GUTA, Barima Dr. Ofori Ameyaw I said “so the e-zones were also meant to get closer to the stakeholders and as it were, they promised establishing similar e-zones in Abossey Okai, Kumasi and other places that I think business is booming and they might need that facility. So it was a very good idea.”

Sampson Asaki, the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana said the establishment of the e-zones furnished importers and traders with accurate information needed to execute their work.

With the taking over of West Blue by Customs World from Dubai, the stakeholders say they expect an injection of efficient system, significant resources, including capital, world-class technologies and human expertise in Ghana as they have done in Dubai and other countries.


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