The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says accurate data is key to ensuring that decisions on strategic interventions to diversify the country’s export products and measure performance of its mandate are sound.
In an address read on her behalf at a sensitisation workshop for freight forwarders, Ms Afua Asabea Asare, the CEO of GEPA, said data on non-traditional export statistics was used as a principal source to engender export development and promotion plans
It is also used by government institutions, donors, investors, banks and businessmen for policy planning, designing of economic interventions and business decision-making.
Ms Asare said in view of the diverse use of the NTE data, it is important to ensure integrity through the protection and transmission of accurate export data.
It was in line with this that GEPA was collaborating with the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) and Export Business Community to hold the session to create awareness among GEPA stakeholders regarding the need to ensure accurate data entry during export declaration to avert export data loss.
She said the sensitisation programme has become necessary because of emerging observations about inaccurate export declaration forms and loss of data due to non-presentation on some manually completed export forms to the Customs Long Room.
Some of these challenges, she said, were because exporters or freight forwarders enter data into online export declaration system with little circumspection and or with too much haste, resulting in the capture of wrong data with values far lower or far above the actual.
“With respect to the data loss, the observation is that, some freight forwarders fail to present duly completed and assessed export forms to the Customs Long Room that do not have online data capture system at border points,” Ms Asabea said.
Ms Asare said the unannounced application of revised Harmonised Codes (HS Codes) also contributed to data inaccuracy and loss.
She called for advanced notices of revisions in HS Codes to allow stakeholders to update their systems for smooth implementation.
Mr Maxwell Osei-Kusi, the Director of Research and International Cooperation GEPA, said inaccurate export data would not help stakeholders to make sound decisions and analysis.
He called on the freight forwarders to ensure that the export forms contained the correct details.
Mr David Kofi Nutakor, the Vice-President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, said the country’s data for export was nothing to write home about, attributing the situation to lack of attention and poor work attitude of some of the freight forwarders.
“Laxity in filling export forms causes them to give raw classification of products, assigning wrong values and weights against certain commodities. Because exporters don’t pay duty on non-traditional commodities, they care less about inaccuracy of data they provide.”
Exporters, according to Mr Nutakor, are equally culpable regarding the provision of wrong data to freight forwarders.
GEPA has collaborated with GIFF and Customs Division of the GRA to organise seven out of the eight planned sensitisation programmes.