GCNet Helps Smoothen First Port Duty Rule Implementation

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The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has said it is preparing towards the implementation of the First Port Duty Rule Policy to bring about significant efficiency at Ghana’s ports.

Its objective is to deepen trade facilitation and enhance revenue mobilisation, while effectively addressing the loss of revenue due to the diversion of goods to the local market.

It would also allow neighbouring Custom authorities to have a presence at Ghana’s ports to facilitate the free movement of goods and the proper monitoring of port activities.

This policy was first announced by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia at the 39th Council Meeting and Conference of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa in Accra in June 2018.

According to the Head of Communications at GCNet, Mrs. Aba Lokko, the expected outcome of the intervention was an assurance that transit goods routed through Ghana’s ports would end up at the right land-locked destination other than in Ghana.

Industry players say the move was a viable avenue for duties on goods destined for Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to be paid in Ghana as a way of curbing smuggling, while checking dumping of goods destined for neighbouring countries in Ghana.

Mrs Lokko explained that a proposed process flow (on the integration of processes and systems) developed by GCNet was currently being reviewed by GRA-Customs and the other stakeholders involved.

She, therefore, expressed optimism that the policy when successfully rolled out, would discourage diversion of goods, which resulted in the non-payment of duties and taxes for development.

“Ghana is in the middle of landlocked countries and that calls for integration of processes and systems (electronically) to facilitate the smooth implementation of the policy”.

As technical partner to the Ghana Customs, GCNet has been at the
Fore front of facilitating the integration of processes and systems between Ghana Customs and her Burkina Faso counterpart.

It has also facilitated a similar transit data exchange programme between the Ghana Customs and the Ivorian side to boost the business competitiveness of the two countries.

Mrs. Lokko said GCNet was hopeful to work with the GRA to replicate the exchange programme in Togo and Benin as a way of deepening compliance.

Analysts believe that to enhance international trade between Ghana and its trading partners, it is imperative that Ghana follows in the footsteps of Kenya and Tanzania who are already benefitting from the execution of a similar policy initiative, known as the Inter Country Data Exchange on Transit.

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