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West Blue unveils online payment for prompt cargo clearance

To facilitate prompt clearance of cargo and lower cost of doing business, West Blue Consulting, operator of Ghana’s National Single Window Project has unveiled an online payment system.

The online payment solution for cross border trade, the first of its kind in the sub region, was launched recently. A statement issued by the company explained that the process offers shippers (importers/exporters) easy and flexible payment options such as card payment (Visa and MasterCard), mobile money powered by telecommunication operators and the various online payment platforms of commercial banks.

It explained that the new system comes with multiple advantages such as secured transactions, increased transparency, and financial inclusion, adding that it “frustrates the use of cloned or forged trade documents”.

The company said: “The system has rendered obsolete paper invoices and bank confirmations with the attendant delay and inconvenience to members of the trading community”.

It added: “Perhaps what is very significant is that the new addition to the single window project will make it possible for port users to clear and take delivery of their consignments within 24hours”.

Impressed with the noticeable improvement in trade processing at the port, the Director General of Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA), Richard Anamoo has commended West Blue Consulting for deploying innovative Information Technology (IT) solutions to modernize Ghana’s cross border trade.

The Director General made the remarks while on a one-day working visit to the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), a unit under the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), to familiarise himself with the operations of the Bureau and implementation of the country’s Pre-arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) developed by West Blue Consulting.

He expressed his delight with the technical support provided by West Blue Consulting to the Revenue Authority via Ghana Customs (CEPS), especially in the implementation of the Ghana National Single Window project.

In his remarks, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, George Blankson, explained that the Ghana Single Window system has made it possible for Ghanaian importers and exporters to electronically lodge their documents, including customs declarations, certificates of origin, invoices at a single location to be accessed by all regulatory and trade agencies, instead of sending copies of the same documents to different agencies.

The Ghana National Single Window system provides the platform for an integrated clearance process to minimize the human factor as much as possible and, to a large extent help to reduce the processing time for trade documents.West Blue Consulting developed the PAARS for Ghana Customs.

It was flagged off on September 1, 2015, and its implementation is to compliment the country’s single window environment.

Already, the statement said PAARS has significantly reduced the time and cost of doing cross border trade in Ghana.

The statement said: “Previously, it takes an average of two weeks for trade documents to be processed; the PAARS implementation has cut processing time for complaint cases to two days and in some cases two hours.

“African countries have been admonished to embrace the single window concept so as to put an end to excessive bureaucracy, which has been described as the most severe constraint to cross border trade in the continent.

“With the GNSW system, Ghana’s goal is to enhance her trade competitiveness by 50 percent within the next five years. The system will save tax payers not less than $200million annually”

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