An impact assessment of GCnet on the operations of Ghana Revenue Authority (Customs Division) In Tema Port

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GCNet is Ghana’s single window platform that ensures that all stakeholders involved in international trade lodge documents with a single entry point to fulfil all trade related regulatory requirements. It was established to remove constraints to legitimate trade facilitation and ensure that collection of trade-related revenue was not compromised. This came as a result of persistent challenges faced by stakeholders on the slow and cumbersome freight clearance processes. This research was carried out to assess the impacts of the GCNet on eradicating operational and administrative bottlenecks in trade facilitation at the Tema port. Convenience sampling technique was used to sample clearing agents, shippers and freight forwarders, importers and exporters. Whiles purposive sampling method was used to sample GPHA, GCNet, GRA (Customs Division), Ecobank and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Ghana Shippers Authority and Ghana Commercial Bank for data collection using a self-administered questionnaire. Analysis of the data revealed that the GCNet has helped to expedite the procedures involved in freight documentation and subsequently on reducing freight clearance from an average of six days to an average of three days and ship turnaround times at the port from an average of seven days to an average of three days. The respondents indicated a requirement of fewer documents and signatures for trade transactions at the Tema port resulting from the replacement of the manual processes with the GCNet platform. This permitted easy submission of manifests and also ensured easy flow of information to the required regulatory agencies. The research showed that customs revenue has increased along with increases in freight traffic through the Tema port from the period of 2000 to 2013. Although this could not be attributed solely to the GCNet, the highest percentage increase in customs revenue over the period occurred in 2003 when the GCNet was introduced as it assisted in controlling transit consignments by preventing their diversion onto the domestic market without the payment of relevant duties and taxes. However, the study shows that system breakdowns and slow or no internet connectivity are noticeable challenges in using the GCNet. From the research, it is evident that the GCNet has positive prospects of improving customs procedures and enhancing port efficiency as it has enhanced documentation, helped in revenue mobilization thereby increased revenue, among others. The research recommends periodic capacity building for all stakeholders. Capacity building, as the key to information and ability, should, as a matter of policy, be made available to all users of GCNet within the mainstream services subject to the suitable training of instructors or change agents on new trends and features of the GCNet to meet the specific needs of the various stakeholder groups.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the Requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Development Policy and Planning.