The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has expressed worry about the frequent breakdown of the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet).
According to the Authority, the situation was affecting smooth operations at the ports, leaving importers and stakeholders mostly frustrated.
Emmanuel Ashaley Neequaye, Terminal Supervisor at the GPHA, who was speaking to a section of journalists at the sidelines of a workshop on challenges for multilateral trading system last week said the problem importers are facing at the ports currently is the frequent breakdown of GCNet systems.
“Unfortunately, the problem that is currently facing us is the frequent breakdown in the network. So sometimes it holds down our activities for two to four hours and that is the problem that we are facing currently with the GCNet system”, he said.
Mr. Neequaye said the GCNet system is not weather friendly, explaining that anytime the weather changes or it rains their system goes off, making work very difficult.
“The problem is a technical one and with the interconnectivity, the systems go off whenever the weather gets bad. This has been there since the inception of GCNet.
“Sometimes when the weather gets clear, it will work normal for about two months, but when it is raining, it goes off, when it’s stormy too same challenge. At other times too you wouldn’t be able to determine what the problem is,” he said.
Sometimes GCNet sends notification messages to all importers and the stakeholders about the breakdown of their systems and apologizes for any inconvenience caused.
This year alone, from January to June 2017, about 12 notifications have been sent out due to system breakdown.
Sometimes they don’t send notifications to clients at all when the system breaks down, some freight forwarders complained.
With the frequent breakdown of GCNet system, it appears Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s announcement for paperless at the ports by September 2017 will face some serious challenges.
However, GCNet in response, admitted that though the company suffers technical hitches, it has the capacity to address such challenges.
Chief Technical Officer of GCNet, Matthew Soputamit told Citi FM that “We offer a technical service and there can be technical hitches at certain times but it is how we react to those technical hitches that happen. Within all those systems, we have dual links; tidal and radio links where in the event that one is not functioning, we switch to the other,”
Meanwhile, GCNet’s system breakdown situation at the ports is not different from what is happening with the Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS), a computer software deployed by GCNet for managing databases for controlling and administering revenue as well as tax payment processing.
There have been complaints that the TRIPS system is not working properly affecting the automation processes for assessing, filing and payment of various domestic tax forms such as Income Tax, PAYE, VAT, Withholding Tax, Gift Tax, etc.
There are still paper works at the Ghana Revenue Authority in spite of the TRIPS System in place.
The Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) is also facing the same problem.
GCNet was contracted to deploy automated system at RGD to ensure 100 percent online business registration to reduced cost and time, but it has not lived up to its expectation, resulting in the surprised visit by the vice president Dr. Bawumia recently.
Ghanaians desiring to register business are faced with a lot of frustrations.