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Mr Millison Narh, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) says a new web-based system for exports documentation and proceeds repatriation, would be introduced on July 1.
It would help stop the leakages in repatriation of export proceeds.
He said monitoring of export proceeds by the central bank, which is one of its mandates under the BoG Act and the Foreign Exchange Act, has been by a manual procedure, with its attendant challenges.
Speaking at a stakeholder forum with exporters and banks, organised by the BoG and Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), developers of the programme of the new IT platform, to discuss the new system and seek their input to finalise it, he said these challenges include the exporters having to manually move the documents around from the central bank to customs and then back to the bank and copies sent to the banks, which makes the process cumbersome.
He noted that the central bank monitors export proceeds in order to ensure that the equivalent value of goods exported outside the country are repatriated back to Ghana to support the liquidity of the local economy, provide forex for importers, as well as to help it prepare the Balance of Payments Accounts, which include the Trade Balance.
“Because of the problems of leakages and shortage of foreign exchange, it becomes very important that we put in mechanisms to ensure that we have full control of whatever goes out of this economy so that the requisite values will be repatriated,” he stated.
Mr Narh said the new web-based application was initially targeted at the small scale mining sector based on the recommendation of a technical to facilitate online processing of gold export documentation for the sector, but would be applicable to all traditional and non-traditional exports.
He charged stakeholders to ensure that documents for their exports are properly processed and proceeds from their exports are repatriated to Ghana.
Mr Carl Sackey, Product Development Manager at GCNet said while the old manual system made it difficult to track proceeds from exports as some exporters do not repatriate the proceeds at all, the new automated system would make it easy.
He said as indicated the bank that is handling the export and requires it to confirm receipt of the proceeds after a specified period and then notify the BoG if the proceeds are not received after the period for the central to take appropriate action.
Exporters whose export proceeds are not received would not be able to export anything else until the proceeds of the exported goods are received.
He noted that the two key features of the new system are that the respective banks have to confirm the exporters’ account details to ensure it is legitimate as well acknowledge receipt of the proceeds and also ensure that the commercial banks receive the forex.
Mr Sackey said the system is on course to go live on first July, even if the Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC), which would be the third party gold exporters, does not finish with their preparations by the date.
The PMMC is expected to provide assaying services to confirm the value of the gold to be exported.
Training sessions would be held for stakeholders prior to July 1.
Mr Kwabena Asante-Asare, Chief Executive Officer of Asanska Jewellery Limited and Chairman of the Association of Gold Exporters, lauded the new system, saying it is what the Association wants and has been agitating for, to ensure proceeds come back to help the country.
“We, as exporters do not have any problems with it, just that there are a few challenges with the system that we need to address.
“The nature of our work is time-bound and we don’t want a situation where a lengthy process will delay us because after the sealing the gold, you need a maximum of two or three hours to it to the airport to catch Emirates for the export,” he stated.