The full implementation of the Single Window Concept of goods clearance at the country's ports has not yet taken off as being speculated. Mr Frederick Gavor, Deputy Commissioner for Operations at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, said the implementation of the concept would commence in March 2016. Mr Gavor disclosed this in Tema during a Continuing Professional Development Programme organised by the Tema Branch of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. He explained that for the past one month, the Customs Division started the implementation of the Pre-Arrival Assessment and Report System (PAARS) and not the Single Window System.
The PAAR is a system, which allows to key in the needed information concerning their consignment before its arrival in Ghana to enable the Customs Division to do its assessment and classification prior to arrival for easy clearance. He added that the Single Window is still at its planning stage with the formation of an Inter-ministerial Consultative Committee under the Chief of Staff's Office. Mr Gavor said the Committee is working to iron out duplications in the mandate of the various controlling state agencies that have a stake in the international trade operations. According to him, the need for the consultation was important as clearance involves the interventions of all kinds of state agencies whose roles duplicate each other. The Committee, he said is having consultations with the various agencies to iron out the legal differences for the process to be harmonised and streamlined for the full implementations.
The Deputy Commissioner said the Single Window has two components, with the first being the replacement of the Destination Inspection Scheme with the PAARS on September 1. Assessing the one-month operations of the PAAR, Mr Gavor indicated that there are few challenges but his outfit has mark-up remedies to address them, and the system is now getting to a point of stability. Mrs Sylvia A. D. Owu, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, of the Ghana Shippers Authority, commended the Customs Division for the initiative to reduce the delays in the clearing process describing it as a 'one stop shop'. Mrs Owu, however, called for more engagement between Customs and her outfit to ensure that proper education is carried out to ensure the smooth running of the PAARS. She noted that in the one month of the PAARS implementation, some shippers have challenges with the key-in due to lack of sensitisation. Captain William Amenhyia, Executive Secretary of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, said the system would increase efficiency and cost savings for traders in their dealings with state authorities in obtaining the relevant clearance. Captain Amenhyia, however, said one month is too early to make good assessment of the PAAR but commended Customs for its commencement.