Ghana's Trading Hub News

Single Window system enhances transparency at ports

The introduction of the National Single Window (NSW) has enhanced transparency and compliance in the systems of all the agencies working at the port, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of West Blue Consulting, Ms Valentina Mintah has said.

She said the system had ensured that processes were automated in a transparent manner and also provided all agencies with a fair playing ground.

According to her, the processes for the single window are such that they do not provide room for multiple documents with different figures.

She explained that it also provided a platform for a system of tracking of data and information sharing which was not possible under the previous system.

That, she said, had prevented the situation where importers could have several documents of invoice data, declaration, and payment, among others.

She stressed that the integration of the system with the commercial banks was being done in a manner that would fast-track validation.


According to Ms Mintah, the system was built in such a way that it could be checked to ensure that there was no manipulation.
She also indicated that there was a continuous system monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place to prevent loopholes and external hacking.

“We have put in place an audit trail that tracks every activity that is conducted on the system, in addition to time stamp and user name which indicates visitors to the system. This can help us look at emerging patterns and trends on users who make errors as well as those who may send high and low values”, she stated.

She said the system had also made room for alerts on external IP addresses that might attack as well as fraudulent emails that might come in.

Revenue leakage

The introduction of the NSW has also led to the plugging of the loopholes in the previous system which had over the years led to a significant loss in revenue.

The duplication in the classification, valuation and risk management of imports by third party agencies in the past was said to have contributed to revenue losses.

The processes which were previously carried out by Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) were said to have seen a lot of inconsistent rules being applied as importers shopped between the five DICs in their bid to cut down on import duty cost.

While the processes by the DICs were to serve as advisory notes for the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the system was said to have had no feedback mechanism, as each DIC provided a different valuation report for the same (similar) products originating from different destinations.

This led to importers shopping among the five DICs in their bid to ensure that they got the best and lowest import payment value.

According to Ms Mintah, the revenue leakage came about because systems were not collaborative, resulting in the duplication of processes.

She said the structure was such that the government was paying US$10million to the DICs on a monthly basis when they performed the classification, valuation and risk management duties on behalf of Customs.

“Every time a transaction is processed, a fee is taken from the national coffers, and it caused revenue loss on the part of government, resulting from the DICs shopping,” she said.

Customs Checks

Ms Mintah indicated that each time there were duplications, Customs had to look back to determine whether they were going to accept it or not.

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