The Bank of Ghana has announced its plan to introduce a new web-base system for exports documentation and proceeds repatriation, on July 1 to prevent leakages in repatriation of export proceeds.
Mr. Millison Narh, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) who disclosed this, said that 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 handled through 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 new IT platform – to discuss the new system and seek their input to finalize 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.
The Central Bank, he says, 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 added that the new web-based application which was initially targeted at the small-scale sector, would also be applicable to all traditional and non-traditional exports.
He therefore charged stakeholders to ensure that documents for their exports are properly processed and proceeds from their exports are repatriated to Ghana.
The Product Development Manager at GCNet, Mr. Carl Sackey applauded the new development, adding that the new automated system would make it easier for track proceeds from exports as some exporters do not repatriate the proceeds at all.
Exporters whose export proceeds are not received would not be able to export anything else until the proceeds of the exported goods are received.
Mr. Sackey explained that the two key features of the new system are;
- The respective banks have to confirm the exporters’ account details to ensure it is legitimate
- Acknowledge receipt of the proceeds and
- Ensure that the commercial banks receive the forex.
According to him, 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 said date.
The PMMC is expected to provide assaying services to confirm the value of the gold to be exported. While training sessions would be held for stakeholders prior to July 1.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Asanska Jewellery Limited, Mr. Kwabena Asante-Asare who is also the Chairman of the Association of Gold Exporters, expressed his enthusiasm in the new system, saying it is what the Association has been agitating for. He however, expressed concern on the challenges of such development.
“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 get it to the airport to catch Emirates for the export,” he stated.