West Blue, operators of the Single Window Project, has begun the implementation of an innovative payment system that would reduce bureaucracies and ease the cost of doing business at the country’s ports.
The payment platform is to enable importers and stakeholders to expedite the clearing regime at the ports and therefore, reduce the turnaround time and the cost of doing business.
A Customs Liaison Officer, Mr Adedapo Adegoke, said at a training programme with the Ghana Association of Bankers in Accra that the new system provided varieties and flexibility in the payment modules.
The primary innovative company, West Blue Consulting, which has been responsible for the modernisation drive at the country’s ports, is upbeat about a robust system that would fetch the country the needed revenue.
Mr Adegoke said the payment options were to give importers easy and flexible payment options.
He mentioned the mobile payment option centres around Card Payment- Visa and Master Card, mobile money payment on Airtel, Tigo and MTN.
He said the UBA-in-bank payment was free to use, and that the in-bank payments of Zenith Bank, Access Bank, First Atlantic Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Energy Bank, Barclays, Capital Bank, UT Bank, Fidelity Bank and Universal Merchant Bank (UMB) attracted an exclusive charge of two per cent, which worked up to 10 pesewas.
Mr Adegoke explained that the Import Declaration Form (IDF) had been enhanced and would also be used directly on the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) in order to end excessive delays at the ports.
Mr Adegoke said importers and clearing agents should bear with the systems as officials of the Single Window project deployed the necessary IT infrastructure to address the teething challenges.
Pre arrival reporting
The IDF Direct on PAARS is a follow up to the various reforms to ensure smooth trading experience and a reliable competitive environment at the country’s ports.,
The transformations at the country’s ports, he said, were to ensure financial inclusion, secure transactions, socio-economic development as well as additional revenue for the state.
However, the absence of strict, appropriate regulations poses a serious threat to the economy and the security of the nation.
Some of the bankers were positive that the initial challenges with the integration process would be surmounted with the deployment of innovative solutions while commending the effort of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in ensuring a speedy trade facilitation system in the country.
“The whole idea of trade facilitation is to make trade faster, better, more streamlined and more transparent,” some of the bankers said.