The Paperless Project
1. What is it?
a. Basically, this means that paper documents should no longer be presented and accepted for the clearance of goods at the ports.
b. This also means that all documents intended to be used for the clearing of goods at the ports should be converted into electronic (Soft) copy and submitted to the requesting agency.
2. What are the other components of the Project?
a. Receiving & Processing Documents- That computer Systems will be used to receive, process, transmit, store and retrieve documents.
b. Risk Profiling of Goods-That Goods will be Profiled to give the level of Risk which will determine
c. The type of Examination
i. If the Risk level is “Green, the goods are Released without Physical Examination But will be scanned for any other anomalies.
ii. If the Risk Level is YELLOW, the goods will be scanned.
iii. If the RISK Level is RED, the container will be Opened and the Goods Examined Physically.
d. Payments of Duties and Charges- Importers will be able to pay their charges using electronic systems (Mobile Money, Visa Cards etc), Pay at the current ECOBANK and GCB BANK and other Banks . This has opened up the options for payments and should reduce the risk of going to Bank and the limitation of opening and *closing hours.
e. Examination of Goods- Now the Declarant will be able to schedule the time it is convenient for him to conduct examination of his goods by indicating the date.
3. Will the Paperless lead to Job Loss?
This question needs at honest answer.
a. First paperless is to reduce to delays, hustles and associated costs of persons who clear goods in the ports.
b. Secondly, paperless will lead to better transparency because everybody will have a clear idea of where his processes have gotten to and whether there is a delay and by whom.
c. Thirdly, Paperless will expose the activities which rob the state of legitimate collectable moneys which go into the wrong pockets.
d. Fourthly, Paperless will enable our ports to compete more favorably with the others in close proximity with use (e.g. Lome and Abodjan)
So the object is to ensure that only people who have legitimate business in the ports are admitted into the area. Improvements as have been envisaged and will definitely happen should lead to more jobs as more business is conducted in our ports, but more importantly that government will get the needed revenue o create more jobs
4. What Steps have been put in place for the Project to Succeed?
a. Installation of Computer Systems-First the computer systems of the service providers in the ports operations have been installed and appropriate software configured on them.
The Systems include those at Customs (Valuation and Declaration Processing), Shipping Lines (to Submit Manifest within the time prescribed), Terminal handlers (those who keep your cargo until you are ready to clear), the Port Administrator (GPHA), the Regulatory Agencies (FDA, GSA, etc) .
b. Link up of Systems-These Computer systems have been linked up to transmit Documents and send and Receive Messages.
c. Training-Third, appropriate Training and Sensitization have been done (and are still ongoing).
Testing of each Separate System and the entire process has been conducted and is still being done.
6. System Flow Diagram
A detailed chart the process flow, showing the activities and responsibilities of stakeholders have Long been designed which has been the basis for most of the preparations
7. Will Paperless reduce the costs of my Imports
The basic answer is yes.
a. Reduced Complexity- First it will reduce the costs arising from the multiplicity and complex activities at the ports ..
b. Reduced Physical & Associated Costs- Second, it will reduce the costs arising from having to contact many people which comes which some form of “facilitation” to get your work done.
c. Transparency- Reduced the ability of people to hide the actual price you pay as duty or for other Services.
8. What are some of my responsibilities so I can profit from the Project?
a. Genuine Documents-Submit genuine documents to reduce the time it takes to validate and also your risk level.
b. Early Submission- Submit your documents for Customs Valuation and Declaration Processing early enough (before the ship arrives) so you are ready to continue with the inside port activities as soon as the ship arrives.
c. Get Information-Seek information from Customs or the appropriate agencies from their Client Service Centers if you encounter challenges. Also get information from GRA websites and that of the other agencies.
9. Are there alternative solutions in case the system fails?
a. Yes both the state institutions and Technical service providers have made plans for fall back in the event of system failures. Backup computer systems have been put in place and there are plans for the use of staff