President John Mahama has been touting the benefits of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) initiative, announcing that its introduction has seen a 14.8percent rise in revenue collection by the Ghana Revenue Authority since September 2015 when it was introduced.

According to him, the GNSW is a positive development for international trade operations and that it will position the country achieve its vision of a diversified economy, effective revenue collection and deploying a transparent process to support the country’s approach to good governance policies.

Launching the Ghana Import Export and Transit Process Manual, a document to guide the shipping community about the various trade processes, in Accra, the president urged stakeholders to ensure that the Single Window initiative delivers to ‘global standards’.

“Today here in Ghana, trade facilitation has been enhanced with a 57percent increase in volume of goods processed at the Customs Services Bureau and revenue collection has improved and become more efficient with a 14.8percent increase in collections over the period. These are successes we must encourage and replicate in other sectors of the economy,” he said.

President Mahama indicated that one year on, the project “was not just a bold decision but has proven to be successful as well, with waiting time and approval for classification reduced to two days from two weeks.”

He explained that the launch of the manual would help the country to, over the next five years, achieve reduction in overall administrative time by 50percent and the cost of trading internationally by 25percent.

“This will have a very dramatic impact on our international investment competitiveness, with direct impact on our domestic economic situation, offering up much more job opportunities and improved living standards for our people”.

Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, George Blankson, welcomed the Customs Division takeover from the Destination Inspection Companies (DIC).

Mr Blankson stated that the transfer has provided for the adoption of a superior technology and approach to performance of their functions.

The Commissioner General also stated that the Pre Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), introduced as a new tool for classification, evaluation and risk management, provides for processing, declaration even before the arrival of goods, saving time and resources for the importer.

The Single Window is expected to, in the long term, have a huge impact on the international competitiveness of local businesses by reducing the time spent by importers and exporters in securing documentation. It would also increase the country’s global ranking in the “Trading across Borders Report” from the current position of 171 in 2016 to 121 by 2021.

The GNSW project was initiated on 1st September 2015 by government to enhance the country’s trade and economic development and secure and increase government revenue.

It is estimated that the implementation of the proposals in the strategic plan would save the economy over US$ 120 million annually, aside reducing the time and complexity for doing international trade.

The GNSW services are delivered through the Ghana Trading Hub 7 and complemented by other service-delivery programmes, such as by the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), as well as by an import, export and transit process manual.