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GPHA: Paperless port system has been critical during COVID-19

Tema Port, ICUMS

The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has acknowledged that the paperless port system introduced by the government in 2017 was critical in the clearing of goods especially during the COVID-19 lockdown and afterwards.

Nana Esi Soderberg, deputy general manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the GPHA disclosing this said despite the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana’s seaport recorded about a 24% increment in containerised traffic among other gains.

Soderberg stated at the third, “End of Month Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day,” seminar organised by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office which is a platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues.

Speaking on the topic: “State of Ghana’s port within COVID-19,” Soderberg explained that; “the government initiative for the paperless regime which commenced in 2017 came into bearing even more because we now have a lot of activities that you can do without being in the port area”.

She added that shipping lines were able to do their bookings without having to move to the port while freight forwarders on behalf of importers could find their invoices on the system and even make payment all from their own offices.

Soderberg explained that under the paperless system, various institutions were to upgrade and automate their services to enable stakeholders to communicate with each other online adding that ICUMS also enhanced the paperless system making it possible for many of the processes from seaside to landside to be automated.

The paperless clearance system, she said has further been enhanced through the introduction of e-payment which allowed clients to pay their charges through mobile money or by the use of visa cards.

She, however, stated there was some aspect of the clearing process that was done manually stressing that all key process was fully paperless.

The paperless port system was introduced by the government to transform the country’s clearing system to reduce clearance time and human contacts with a feature of having joint examination to eradicate the hitherto duplication of duties by state agencies at the Port.

On 1 June 2020, as part of the paperless system, the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) popularly known as UNIPASS was introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in Ghana’s ports to replace the Ghana Customs Management System as an end to end single window system.

The GNA-Tema Regional office created the stakeholder platform to allow both state and non-state stakeholders to interact with staff and address national issues as well as throw more light on their institution’s mandate.

The event which also serves as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters to the professional growth and promotion of Tema GNA as the industrial hub, and national development in general is also to deepen the working relations between the Agency and its stakeholders.

The third edition of the engagement saw Josephine Nkrumah, Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) launching the 2021 citizenship week at the event.

The speakers included Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, executive director of the Association of Oil Marketing Company (AOMC); Superintendent Kwabena Otuo Acheampong, Tema Regional Police Crime Officer; and Superintendent Sandra Akossah, Tema Regional Police Prosecutor.

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