… revenue increase at ports not as a result of paperless system – Traders

The leaders of of merchandise traders in the country have refuted the assertion by the Vice President that revenue has increased at the Port since the implementation of the paperless clearance policy is not entirely true.

They explained that, relative increase in revenue for the period as compared to same period last year, is for the fact that 2016, was an election year hence the decline in imports which affected the revenue base at the Port.

“It is unfortunate the Vice President is trying to compare revenue from an election free year with that of an election year,” the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit has said.

Mr. Awingobit, who was speaking at a GIFF press conference in Tema, said the Vice President’s calculation was wrong and does not represent the fact on the ground.

“What happens is that during the electioneering season, imports decline and businesses tend to be very slow so for the Vice President to say, the one-week existence of the paperless have actually increased the revenue at the Port is highly untrue.”

Mr. Awingobit noted that, “the Vice President should have also known that due to the migration from a paper regime to a paperless one, most clearing agents prior to the implementation of the new policy entered loads of declarations which are yet to be cleared from the Port which also accounted for the rise in revenue.”

“There are several declarations that are yet to be cleared from the system even though the duties have been paid. The containers are still at the Port uncleared despite having paid duty. Those are backlogs and government must be worried” Mr Asaaki stated.

He said between September 4 and6, importers who have paid monies to clear their consignment were yet to clear them.

“I urge the Vice President to direct his focus on how to make the paperless policy a robust one devoid of all the numerous challenges than churn out figers that does not represent the realities on the ground.”

He said it too early for governent to start praising the paperless policy because the bottlenecks have not yet been addressed

Meanwhile, Mr Baffour Ofori-Atta Kena, a Senior Freight and Logistics Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, has said the implementation of the Ports’ Paperless Policy is to stabilise the economy to reduce the prices of goods and services in the country.

He said under the Policy, goods would be cleared at the ports within four hours unlike the previous paper process, which took a longer period for goods to be cleared imposing high cost on consumers.

Mr Ofori-Atta Kena was speaking at a sensitisation forum in Tamale, last week, for members of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority to educate them on the new Policy.

The forum, which was organised by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, in partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority, was also used to sensitise members on the “Dos and Don’ts” for importers on the new paperless clearance process at the ports.

Mr Ofori-Atta Kena said the new Policy, which took off about a week ago, would reduce the cost of doing business for investors as well as protect government revenue by avoiding leakages.

He said the Ports’ Paperless Policy was designed to detect fake documentations of importers adding that culprits would be fined for the first time and banned for the second time.

He said shipment of goods would pass through three channels of the Red, Yellow and Green for supervision and requisite payments made before clearance.

-Adnan Adams Mohammed

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