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Freight forwarders agitate over ‘drawbacks’ in paperless systems

President of the Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah
President of the Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah

Freight forwarders at the Tema Port have protested against the undue delays at the port in the wake of the pilot of the paperless transaction at the port.

According to them, the paperless regime which is expected to be officially rolled out in September would jeopardize their work if nothing is done to correct the problems and delays with some of the clearing agencies at the port.

The freight forwarders also argue that under the West Blue system it took up to about three weeks to clear goods at the ports and the situation will not differ when the paperless system commences fully.

Some of the freight forwarders who spoke to Citi Business News maintained that the Customs Clearance and Valuation Report (CCVR) which is the first step to clearing goods at the ports, used to take a maximum of three days to process a document now takes up to two weeks minimum and three weeks maximum.

Others also noted that education on the paperless regime has been poor hence the exercise be postponed until the education goes down well with the freight forwarders.

Government pilots paperless regime at ports

Government on Friday, August 18, began a pilot of the paperless clearing process at the country’s ports ahead of the official takeoff next month.

The exercise is among others to identify the potential shortfalls and address them for a seamless transaction on September 1.

The move to start the paperless regime at the ports follows a directive from the Vice President to stop corruption and turnaround time for businesses.

Meanwhile some stakeholders are agitated at the new regime arguing that they will be kept out of business.

The clearing agents some of whom spoke to Citi News’ Tema Correspondent, Elvis Washington the situation is creating undue delays at the port hence their agitation.

“We are agitating because of the tax stamp. The paperless is a good system but when you look at the whole system, you will realize the number of people that will go home.”

They further pleaded with government to ensure jobs are not lost in the process.

“We are pleading with the government. We know it is trying to raise the revenue to develop the country, we are in support of that, the President and his team are doing their best but we are pleading with him. How are we going to even feed our families?” they bemoaned.

Also, the President of the Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah tells Citi Business News the situation if not handled properly will obliterate the paperless system.

“The situation has just deteriorated. We now go beyond seven days. This is the problem that we have, we think that it has to be solved” he added.

By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/Elvis Washington/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana

Ghana Business News