The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has called for continuous improvement and upgrade of the Customs Uni-Pass International Agency (CUPIA) of Korea, system being implemented at the country’s ports for revenue collection to make it robust and flexible to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.
The system, he said, would help improve trade facilitation and aid the country to meet the changing dynamics of trade facilitation in the world.
The minister disclosed this when a six-member delegation from CUPIA visited him and his Deputy, Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei, at the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in Accra on Wednesday.
The delegation is in the country to see at first hand the operations of the Integrated Customs Management Union System (ICUMS) being run by Ghana Link, a trade facilitation company, at the country’s ports.
They were accompanied by the Executive Chairman of Ghana Link, Nick DansoAdjei and some senior staff members.
Ghana Link in July 2018 signed an agreement with CUPIA of South Korea to develop the Uni-Pass National Single Window End-to-end trade facilitation system known in Ghana as Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) for the clearing of goods in the various ports and borders of the country.
The CUPIA team had earlier visited the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Reverend Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah, and some senior officials of the Authority.
There was also were a six-member delegation from the Gambia Revenue Authority and Finance Ministry, who are in the country to study the country’s implementation of the Uni-Pass system.
Mr Kyerematen said one of the biggest challenge the country had with its trade facilitation system was the fragmented nature of the process of clearing goods with different services providers providing different service in the trade facilitation space.
“So in the 2017, the ruling government decided to review the entire trade facilitation regime and customs administration. It was clear to us that the different service providers working on different platforms did not augur well for efficiency in trade facilitation. So we took a decision to identify a globally advance and knowledge company to develop an end-to-end system to facilitate effective and efficient trade facilitation,” he said.
He said as was associated with every new system, there were some teething challenges with the implementation of the system but now had been resolved.
He mentioned some of the challenges as how to adapt the Uni-Pass system to the Ghanaian trade facilitation regime and the buy-in and appreciation of the system by the various stakeholders of the trade facilitation space.
“But, today, we are celebrating ICUMS. As political leaders, we were convinced the Uni-Pass/ICUMS would work,” he stated.
“There is more we can do and there is more to do to improve the ICUMS system,” he said.
The Chairman of CUPIA, Yoonshik Kim, said the two-day visit of CUPIA delegation was to apprise themselves of the Ghana Link CUPIA Uni-Pass system locally call the Integrated Customs Union Management System (ICUMS).
The CUPIA Chairman said the continuous improvement in technology and issues such as Artificial Intelligence and Big Data called for the need for continuous improvement of the system.
“I believe there is no end to a trade facilitation system. In system development, there is no end to it. There is the need for continuous improvement to make the system relevant to the changing dynamics of the trade facilitation industry, “Mr Kim said.
He commended all the stakeholders in the trade facilitation industry particularly Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Link for their strong partnership and co-operation.
He said CUPIA would continue to work with Ghana Link and the Ghana Revenue Authority to improve the ICUMS.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE