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West Blue Consulting, a world class business and IT-consulting and technology firm has been awarded the “Most Innovative IT Consulting and Technology Firm” at the prestigious 2018 West Africa Business Excellence Awards (WABEA) held in Accra last Saturday.
The award presented to officials of the company by the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana, H. E Femi Michael Abikoye seeks to to recognise company’s outstanding achievement, vision, innovation and growth in the trade facilitation and customs modernisation in Ghana, Nigeria and West Africa at large.
The company received a certificate and a coveted plaque.
The WABEA provides a platform to recognize individuals and companies that play a significant role in the development of various sectors in the West Africa region to attract investors into West Africa.
The awards organised in partnership with Unique Communications, Strategic Accountancy Africa (SAA), and West Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry also recognized the industry’s merits and set a benchmark for excellence, whilst rewarding innovative ideas that have pushed the boundaries of what is possible..
The 2018 Awards promote and celebrate the outstanding achievements of organizations and individuals in West Africa business region, according to the organisers.
In all, more 20 other entrepreneurs and business executives were awarded in various categories including outstanding entrepreneur of the year, outstanding industrialist of the year, auto company, healthcare and insurance.
Why the company picked the award
Industry watchers were not surprised at the company picking the prestigious award based on its track records in Ghana and abroad.
West Blue Consulting is the technical partner of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) project which has been contracted by the Government of Ghana to run the five year project.
Initially, the company successfully developed and implemented the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) 2016.
The PAARS, according to the senior officials is a modernized system that has been developed by the Customs Division of GRA as part of the implementation of the GNSW project to enhance revenue mobilization, improve border security and customs clearance, overcome duplication across regulatory agencies and promote trade facilitation.
Since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours.
In some cases, within an hour that is substantial improvement from the previous situation whereby it used to take traders more than a week or two weeks just to get their CCVR.
The system has brought some efficiency at the ports, reduced time, reduced corruption, and cost of doing business.
Another significant achievement chalked by the company was the country’s historic performance on the recent World Bank’s Ease of Doing rankings.
Ghana had moved an impressive 13 places up on the Trading Across Borders in the latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business Report. The report accredited the performance to the GNSW project initiated by the government.
The Doing Business 2017 report, titled ‘’Equal Opportunity for All’, showed that Ghana was placed at position 108 out of 190 countries surveyed in the Overall Ranking of Ease of Doing Business – an improvement from 111 in the previous report.
In the sub-Saharan Africa sub-region, Ghana ranked in the Top 10, coming 9th, out of the 47 countries ranked in the region. This is evidence that the Government of Ghana is pursuing active reforms to ensure the Ease of Doing Business in Ghana.
The Customs Division of GRA took over the processing of the CCRV from the destination companies in September 2015.
The CCRV replaced the destination inspection report also known as the Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR).
In spite of the successes chalked so far through the implementation of the PAARS, West Blue is still working hard to facilitate trade and maximise revenue for the government.
Based on the experience of the Single Window implementations in other countries, West Blue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years.
Instructively, the GNSW project was initiated on 1st September 2015 by the Government of Ghana to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue. It was officially launched in 1st December, 2015.
Indeed, the Single Window concept was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 2005 as an effort to simplify, harmonise and standardise international trade procedures and associated information flows between trade and government and within government itself.
UNECE, through its UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), defined Single Window as “a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents with a single entry point to fulfill all import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements. If information is electronic, then individual data elements should only be submitted once”.