Bawumia Must Give Mahama Govt Credit For “Paperless” Program At The Ports - Murtala

Former Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Murtala Ibrahim Mohammed claims the “paperless” system introduced and implemented by the Akufo-Addo and Bawumia government is the brainchild of the Mahama administration.

According to him, the so-called “paperless” program which the Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia implemented in less than 4 months in office in 2017 is a sham as the original program was called trade facilitation with the purpose of automating all the agencies operating at the Ports into a system.

Contributing to a panel discussion on Radio Gold’s 'Alhaji and Alhaji' talk show, Murtala Mohammed explained the trade facilitation be something which aims at reducing human-to-human dealings and expediting action in terms of clearance for export and import.

He insisted that Dr. Bawumia lied to Ghanaians as there is nothing like “Paperless System” but rather “Trade Facilitation” which was implemented after the Trade Facilitation Bill and Trade Commission Bill were passed in Parliament.

“The NDC implemented the Trade Facilitation which Dr. Bawumia in less than 4 months came out and lied with all due respect to Ghanaians that it is 'Paperless System'. He didn’t even understand what he was talking about. We have nothing like Paperless; it is just Trade Facilitation-automation of all the agencies operating at the Ports into a system such it reduces human-to-human and it expedite action in terms of goods clearance, either for import or export. It does all those things,” he disclosed.

Giving the reason for Trade Facilitation system, Murtala Mohammed said for 8 years of NPP in power under former President Kufuor, the passage of the Trade Facilitation Bill and the Trade Commission bill eluded them; hence the NDC came out with the passage of the bills.

“The NDC, and I proudly moved this motion, we passed this and before we do that there was a Committee set up at the Ministry and ironically, the current Deputy Trade Minister, Hon. Carlos Ahenkora represented the Freight Forwarders and they complained that they needed to go through a lot of places to have their goods cleared. Demurrages alone were in excess of $100 million annually,” he narrated.

He hinted that the Trade Facilitation was similar to the one being done in Nigeria by a woman as the Nigerian economy and their export and import far bigger than that of Ghana; hence a team was sent there to see how it is done.

He again narrated that in view of the Trade Facilitation, the West Blue Consult, owed by a Ghanaian woman was brought on board except one agency but unfortunately the NDC government led by President John Dramani Mahama was booted out of power in 2016; reiterating that the other agency came on board to complete the deal just the same time the Akufo-Addo government was sworn-in.

He however alleged that the NPP administration hounded the West Blue Consult owner to a point of selling her company to the Arabs from Dubai whose interest and profits supersede the plight of Ghanaian exporters; necessitating the excessive increases in the charges at the Ports.

“So you [Dr. Bawumia] cannot say the fundamentals, yet in one breath, you come out and say paperless, paperless, taking credit of something he knows nothing about, without even acknowledging us. I urge my senior brother to do that...”, he claimed.

Nonetheless, Hon. Murtala Mohammed appealed and suggested to the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to hold another lecture on the economy in his own hometown Walewale for him [Murtala] to participate.