Barely two weeks after the introduction of a paperless clearance system, revenue at the Tema and the Takoradi ports has increased by 56 per cent, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has said.
He said revenue at the ports increased from GH¢130 million in the first week of September 2016 to GH¢213 million in the same period in 2017.
The Vice-President was speaking at the opening session of a two-month boot camp for 170 national service persons posted to the National Communications Authority (NCA) in Accra last Wednesday.
Dr Bawumia said the recent agitation against the paperless system was meant to derail the initiative, partly because it blocked revenue leakages in port operations.
“On September 1, we launched the paperless system, but not without attempts to actually derail the process because it is hurting a lot of people who were making free money. Are you protesting against the system or something else?
“The results are amazing. We just looked at the data this morning, the first week of collections under the paperless system in September this year compared with the first week of collections in September 2016, and collections have gone up by 56 per cent — from around GH¢130 million to GH¢213 million in one week,” he added.
The paperless clearing system was introduced by the government on September 1, 2017 to speed up the process of clearing goods from two weeks to four hours, ensure order at the ports and plug any revenue loopholes.
Digital address system
The Vice-President expressed the government's readiness to roll out a digital address system in November this year.
"The postcode system in use currently is outmoded for the type of economy we want to build. Therefore, we are asking for a global positioning system where every part of the country can be located," he said.
Additionally, Dr Bawumia said, many other interventions, such as the digitisation of the national identification system and the interoperability of payment systems, would be launched this year, all in pursuit of achieving a digital economy.
"As the country moves to the digital system, the launch of the paperless system at the ports and the free SHS policy all attest to the type of economy we want to build," he said.
The national identification system, the Vice-President said, was a critical aspect of achieving a digitised economy, for which all the necessary measures had been put in place to achieve that objective.
“We will first try to achieve the digital address system to enable the collection of data for national identification to be easy. Some time to come every activity will be dependent on that unique number defining every citizen in our socio-economy.
“We are aiming for an ICT-based economy, one that will integrate institutions such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Ghana Police Service, the Passport Office, the Electoral Commission (EC) and others. We also have plans to increase our cyber security systems to prevent the vulnerability of the digital systems,” he added.
For her part, the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, asked the National Service Secretariat (NSS) to focus more on posting more national service persons to the private sector, since that sector contributed immensely to the economy.
She also suggested to the secretariat to consider waiving the fees payable by private institutions, so that they could engage more service persons.
Explaining the reason for the boot camp, the acting Director of the NCA, Mr Joe Anokye, said it was to enhance the entrepreneurial and information technology skills of service personnel, with the view to preparing them for the corporate world.