The National Single Window Concept: “The Old Order Changeth Not?”
By; Joe Effah-Nkyi, MILT
The introduction of NATIONAL SINGLE WINDOW CONCEPT which seeks to integrate all stakeholder entities operating within Ghana’s maritime enclave on a common platform to enhance the entire Port clearance processes has come to add much impetus to the already existing procedures.
However, certain critical elements which were expected to be factored onto the GCNET validated declaration viA the National single window trajectory have for no apparent reason been ignored, to the detriment of major Port operators whose core functions are directly linked to our maritime activities.
Before the advent of the above laudable concept and even now, payments of shipping line charges, the various GPHA Port/ handling charges, MPS charges, etc. are physically effected at the various designated offices before final release of stowage. The trading fraternity therefore heaved a sigh of relief with the coming on board of West Blue consulting limited in collaboration with GCNET, with the optimism that “the old order may change, yielding place to new”, but persistently GPHA and these Shipping agencies are still left outside the integration process, i.o.w they have not been rolled onto the GCNET entry/declaration and this is causing much trepidation to the trading public but most specifically, Freight forwarders whose fundamental tasks involves documentation processing.
As I write, formation of long despicable unexplained queues continues to be the order of the day precisely at the Shipping agencies, GPHA and MPS for that matter just for simple intention of payment of processing and handling charges to warrant cargo releases. Such reprehensible state of affairs, in this technologically driven era, invariably culminates in increasing turnaround time of doing business at our ports and irrefutably overburdens the consignee/agent, but overall, contributes to intensely congest the numerous terminals.
In the light of the above, it is our utmost expectation that, GPHA, the Shipping agencies and the various stakeholder organizations whose processing/handling charges are paid outside the entry/declaration would abate. These are then captured on the customs declaration and whatever charges accrued are consolidated with Duty/taxes elements for one-time payment. Once the system validates it, there won’t be the need again for a certified final release of cargoes. Consignments could then be delivered after the appropriate Customs examination. Such action and inaction would definitely contribute to sanitize the system and guarantee best practices.
Furthermore,the new system of generating Import Declaration Forms (IDF’s) which requires payment at Banks before accessing it on the platform seems to be too laborious, time consuming and regressive. The old system where charges in connection with IDF were captured on the Customs declaration for payment was most perfect, succinct and therefore requires to be reestablished. It is anticipated that the above, if implemented, would definitely contribute immensely to actualize the essence of the SINGLE WINDOW CONCEPT.
Also published in the Thursday May 26, 2016 edition of the Daily Graphic on page 10.
JOE EFFAH-NKYI, (MILT)
P.O BOX CE 12281, TEMA.
TEL; +233 244 250922