Shippers can now effect payment for services rendered to them in the clearance chain via mobile money, online as well as card payment and in-branch payment.
This is being facilitated by WestBlue consulting, technical partners of the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
This is expected to inject some level of efficiency in port operations. The e-payment platform will among others benefits totally remove the element of corruption through the human interface where money exchanges hands. It also brings along some element of ease and convenience in terms of payment for services.
WestBlue consulting is partnering some local banks in the deployment of the e-payment platform which is already operational. The company has also achieved direct electronic submission of manifests or import list by airlines and is currently working at achieving same with the sea manifests.
CEO of WestBlue Consulting, Madam Valentina Mintah who made these disclosures during a visit to the company by the parliamentary select committee on finance said more than 40 airlines in all currently submit their manifests directly for processing.
According to her the expedited shipment automation (courier) which is fully automated from end-to end to payments will ensure that shipments that are coming in are done in a timely manner. ‘’ Before because of the manual intervention it used to take about 6 hours to arrive from the UK and another 6 or 8 hours for it to be processed, but now this is being done in a timely way’’ she pointed out.
Madam Mintah also intimated that the company was setting up e-zones at designated sites to provide physical centres that will be manned by operators to support traders with their queries.
Madam Mintah mentioned issues of vessel dwell time and cargo turnaround time, multiple human touch points, disconnect of the terminal processes of the Pre-Arrival and declaration processes as some of the challenges that they grapple with.
According her under declaration and quantity manipulation, mis-discription of items and manipulation of shipping documents especially the bill of laden and airway bill as well as wrong origin of goods are also issues that negatively impact their operations. ‘’Misclassification, mis-invoicing, undervaluation and high volume of appeals among others. There is a lot of appeals on Customs Classification and Valuation Reports (CCVR’s) that are issued and we need to work at reducing that’’ she opined.
Chairman of the committee Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance Dr. Mark Osei Assibey on his part lauded the operations of the company. He noted that the visit was to allow members of the committee to familiarise themselves with the operations of WestBlue having earlier paid a similar visit to the Ghana Community Networks Services, GCNet. ‘’Both GCNet and WestBlue are complimentary. What I want to see is for them to be working together. To integrate their networks and their operations. It is for our benefit. Both of them have contacts with the government, they are not going away. GCNet is there until 2018 and WestBlue is there until 2020 so they are here. What they should do is to integrate their system so that we can really operationalise this single window thing. Less paper and everything being electronic’’ he noted.