The implementation of the National Single Window project is still inundated with challenges after over two years of rolling it out.
The project which is being executed by West Blue Ghana Limited and GCNET, according to Valentina Mintah, West Blue’s Chief Executive Officer is fraught with numerous challenges such as manipulation of shipping documents, wrong origin of goods, mis-invoicing and under valuation.
She disclosed this recently when the Finance Committee of Parliament paid a courtesy call on her firm.
Addressing the committee, she said other challenges are vessel dual time and cargo turn around issues; multiple human touch points, disconnect of the terminal processes for the pre-arrival and the declaration, transit and bonded warehouse issues, declaration and quantity manipulation and mis-description of items.
The National Single Window
It is an all-of-government automation and integration approach to link government agencies and private sector operators involved in international trade, utilising existing systems and infrastructure wherever this is efficient and effective.
Key aspects are the fully automated and paperless “single entry point” and the ePayment facilities.
These support the single submission – by businesses – of the required trade information for processing by government agencies and private sector operators; the receipt of relevant responses from government through a seamless and easy to use service; and the electronic payment of duties, taxes and fees.
It reduces unnecessary human interface in trade transactions, allowing most processes to be undertaken automatically. This greatly increases transparency and reduces the possibilities for irregular interventions and payments. In 2016 alone, the time and cost of importing was reduced by 400 hours and US$50 respectively, per consignment.
Work on establishing a Single Window in Ghana commenced in 2000 and the initial system was launched by GCNet in 2002.
This focused primarily on automating Customs’ process and procedures and also linking the systems of a number of other government agencies.
In September 2015, the Government of Ghana decided to launch the 2nd phase of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) programme and contracted West Blue Consulting to undertake the work.
This 2nd phase takes the project much further by extending the National Single Window automation and integration approach to all government agencies and private sector operators involved in international trade, utilising existing systems and infrastructure wherever this is efficient and effective.