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There are fears from industry players and some stakeholders that the implementation of the National Single Window Scheme by West Blue Consulting may have dire consequences for international trade facilitation.

A senior manager at the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity said they were afraid that the ports will come to a standstill during the implementation, noting that there was nothing single window about what was about to be deployed, since there is no difference between that and what is currently being operated by the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet).

According to the manager, there will be chaos in international trade and that Ghana will likely retrogress about 3 years back if care is not taken.

"The current arrangement is that all the stakeholders are hooked up on the Ghana Community Network System (GCNet) including freight forwarders and customs, so who will the West Blue connect with?" he asked.

According to him, GCNet had received international recognition and acclaim and has proven over the last 10 years that it was a master in its own right when it came to international trade facilitation, arguing that the same cannot be said of West Blue.

He said for such a policy to even take effect and become effective and efficient, it should not take less than a year, a situation he says will seriously negatively impact international trade at the country’s ports.

Investigations by the Maritime and Transport Digest (M&TD) indicate that with less than two weeks to the full implementation of the new scheme, one of the main players, GCNet has yet to lay hands on a copy of the contract between West Blue consulting and government.

There are indications that upon several requests by GCNet to lay hands on the original contract document have not yielded any positive results and speculations are also rife that there has not been any serious meeting between West Blue and GCNet to set out the modalities for the take off.

This turn of events, this paper understands, is making GCNet a bit jittery and slow even though they have adopted diplomacy in dealing with their concerns.

The M&TD understands that GCNet would want to lay hands on the contract document to enable it study same and to find out whether there is no element of conflict with what the two (West Blue and GCNet) will be doing in the scheme of things as far as the roll out is concerned.

It is believed that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority and West Blue Consulting are the two main entities that seem to engage more as far as the implementation of the scheme is concerned and this was evident in the fact that GCNet was totally absent when the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority recently organised a media briefing to outline its readiness to fully take off with the policy from the 1st of September.

Source: Maritime and Transport Digest

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