Data collection and usage has become very important in modern economies. It has become valuable in planning, implementation, and assessment that data held by organisations across the world has become extremely important and expensive.
Developed economies have the edge over developing economies in data collection and usage. The government, in a bid to make use of data that is available but hitherto had not been tapped, decided to leverage on data collection through available channels.
The government therefore decided to engage with Antaser Afrique BVBA (ANTASER AFRIQUE) of Belgium with their local partner Ocean Maritime & Logistic Institute (IOMLI) to provide the platform for data collection through SML which is currently working for the GRA.
The data that will be collected will be used for planning purposes and will not be used by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for revenue collection or valuation purposes.
For this purpose, shippers or importers will not be required to pay fees or fill in special forms for the purposes of shipping or importation. This will help the government to have for the first time in the country’s history a proper shipping data collection system which will help the country in its foreign trading activities, access to real-time statistics of trade flow.
It is of this view that the Ghana government on 28 February 2023, through the Finance Ministry, engaged Antaser Afrique BVBA (ANTASER AFRIQUE) of Belgium with their local partner Ocean Maritime & Logistic Institute (IOMLI) to provide the platform for Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML) to collect data.
The aim of the programme is aimed at improving accurate data collection of port activities in Ghana.
However, recent media reports, including public comments and commentaries from some individuals pertaining to the deal, have cast a snare on the purported agreement under the impression that the said agreement smacks of some underhand doings and dodgy deals.
This programme will not cost the government anything by way of fees neither will it cost the Ghanaian taxpayer or the importer and exporter.
Checks so far indicate that the government of Ghana through the finance ministry on the 28 February 2023 in a letter addressed to Messrs Freddy Van Tichelen, the chief executive officer of Antaser Afrique BVBA, directed the company to as a result of their partnership firstly coordinate with relevant stakeholders in the shipping industry towards the sourcing of accurate shipment data on Ghana for the use of the Smart Port Electronic Cargo Tracking Note.
It is, however, surprising to see some CSOs claiming there is serious infighting between top officials of government within the GRA and the Finance Ministry over a contract that is in its coordinating stages expectant of its full implementation after almost bringing closure on its ongoing stakeholders’ engagement drive.
It is worth knowing that the Finance Ministry’s letter on the 31 October 2023, denying any directive to its partners to begin the implementation of the ECTN/SPN, was as a result of some lapses on the part of ANTASER AFRIQUE and its partners to complete the mandated engagement with relevant stakeholders before the 15 September 2023, commencing date.
Notwithstanding, the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Finance according to sources has been engaging in some fruitful discussions with ANTASER AFRIQUE BVBA to see to the full implementation of the agreement which insiders and international trading community and Traders associations say will help the government achieve an unprecedented growth in its data collection and also having a robust and secured trade data system.
Indications and due diligence show that the Ministry of Finance’s letter dated 28 February 2023 to ANTASER AFRIQUE BVBA is still effective, and in that regard, traders are advised to adhere to the directive.
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