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Bawumia outlines measures to make port operations efficient

Business & Economy

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that various pragmatic measures would be introduced into the port system to make it live up to international standards.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that various pragmatic measures would be introduced into the port system to make it live up to international standards.

 

“We are moving from a system of applying sub-standard and unnecessary complex procedures at the port to a system which meets international standards. We need value for money as a nation and we are going to insist on it.

Our port operations have not lived up to international standards and the Nana Akufo-Addo government is determined to change that,” the vice President said yesterday when he outlined measures that would be implemented to make operations at the  port more efficient.

A committee headed by Carlos Ahenkora, Deputy Trade Minister, with representatives from Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana, Terminal Operators, Regulatory Agencies, the National Risk Management Committee, among others, was tasked to review the 3 measures, announced by the vice President on May 17, and expected to take effect from the September 1, 2017.

The three measures were the removal of customs barriers within the country, mandatory Joint Inspections and paperless port.

The Vice President revealed that after broad consultations with relevant stakeholders, a number of measures were set to be introduced at Ghana’s ports to improve efficiency and make them more user-friendly.

On the removal of internal customs barriers, Dr Bawumia said, “These barriers will be redundant in the long term with the introduction of the First Port Rule in Ghana. Duties will be paid on goods destined for re-export and with the new automated gate opening system at the port which will be linked to the risk engine. No vehicle will be able to leave the port without paying their duty. In the short term, they will be replaced with occasional patrols.”

With regards to the mandatory Joint Inspections, Vice President said from September 1, all containers would be physically opened and inspected.

“We are introducing a risk engine which will assign risk levels to importers based on their level of compliance. When the need arises for inspections, the agencies needed for the inspections will be informed about the inspection time and place for joint inspections and they will have to sign in on an electronic device at the inspection shed to confirm their participation,” he said.

On the port going paperless, Dr Bawumia mentioned that with the help and cooperation of all the stakeholders at the port, a process flow had been mapped out to take effect from September 1, 2017.

“Agencies and stakeholders presented paperless process flows which we merged into a process flow that will enable compliant importers to sit in the comfort of their offices or homes and get customs clearance.

“Our goal within the next six months is to have a robust risk engine which will grant customs clearance in a maximum of 4 hours. Dubai customs is able to grant customs clearance in 1 and ½ seconds and so Ghana can definitely aim for 4 hours instead of the current system of days and weeks,” he said.

Dr Bawumia noted that a National Risk Clearance System would also be introduced to include Pre-Clearance, Clearance and Post Clearance Processes, fed by data from all systems.

“Compliant importers will get customs clearance in real time whiles non-compliant importers will go through scanning and physical inspection. All activities of importers will be fed into the system to enable us build risk profiles for importers,” the Vice President said.

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