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The Timber Industry Development Division (TIDD) of the Forestry Commission has launched an electronic export permit for timber and wood products based on the Ghana Community Network System.

This system replaces the manual one for granting permits and exemptions to importers and exporters. It is also faster and more efficient due to the fact that the processes that importers and exporters go through to obtain permits and exemptions have shortened.

By the launch, TIDD becomes the first establishment in Ghana to issue export permits through the GCNet system introduced into the country a few years back.

The move is not only in line with government's directives and current operating systems worldwide but also to help reduce human contact and permit processing through effective collaboration with the Ghana Customs Management System.

The new system would also help ensure uniformity in data capture with respect to import and export of wood products in order to minimize malpractices, ensuring accurate capture of state revenue and enhancement of record keeping in the timber industry.

Exporters and importers of timber and wood products who electronically apply for this export permit can easily track shipment of timber and wood products without the requisite authorization from TIDD.

At a day's workshop organized by the Forestry Commission in conjunction with the GCNet for export managers, forwarding agents and a number of timber companies in Takoradi Wednesday where the new system was officially launched, the Executive Director of TIDD, A.N. Attah, said the Division was also in the process of delivering Contracts of Sale electronically.

This, he said, was also aimed at fast tracking Contract Administration and making the procedures more transparent.

Admitting that there would be initial difficulties with the new system, Mr. Attah assured the participants that a team of experts would soon be put in place to resolve all potential teething problems.

The Statesman learnt that a number of tax collecting institutions like the Customs Excise and Preventive Services have maximized their revenue base with the introduction of the GCNet System.

It was to this end that the Deputy Operations Manager of the Project, Eben Engmann, entreated exporters and importers of timber and wood products to apply for the new export permit. According to him, this could be done in the comfort of their offices.

The Statesman, Science/Nature | Thu, 12 Mar 2009

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