The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says it will on February 21 begin a pilot of the new Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the Takoradi Port.
The new system, according to the GRA provides an end-to-end supply chain solution and also enhances trade facilitation.
It is an initiative of Korean Customs with Ghana Link Network introducing UNIPASS, an electronic clearance system which computerises customs procedures and the automation of clearance process to overcome the increased volumes in trade and travels.
Already, a team is in Takoradi engaging with different regimes to be used for the pilot phase to find how robust the new system would be during the final roll out at the various destinations in the supply chain.
Briefing journalists at a media workshop last week Friday, the Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Policy and Programmes at the Customs Division, Mr Felix Mate-Kodjo, indicated that all the necessary grounds work had been done for the pilot to begin.
“The stage is set for the full implementation of the pilot programme. We will look at a sample size and run the entire process with selected regimes and test how robust the system is, we will also look at the stress levels of the personnel,” he added.
Mr Mate-Kodjo said the pilot would examine the challenges and identify ways to improve delivery, saying “we are determined to deploy and confidently we know we will get perfect results.”
INCUMS, he believed, would improve efficiency in customs revenue.
A Principal Revenue Officer at the Customs Division, Mr Gerald Agbettor, said ICUMS would provide a single window for all transactions at the port and also improve turn-around time of vessels at the ports.
Payment of taxes and insurance, he added, could be made at all the banks and insurance companies and indicated that business with Customs would be effective and efficient.
“With ICUMS, we provide a one-stop service through the single window for all customs clearance procedures. It integrates all government agencies associated with trade and passenger processing, enabling the sharing of information between regulatory agencies, Customs and other stakeholders not just for regulatory permits, but, also for statistics and information used for data analysis and decision making purposes,” Mr Agbettor said.
He said “The system collects bills of lading from shipping companies, airlines and forwarders and assign a cargo tracking number to each consignment. Moreover, the time it takes to deliver or clear goods is also measured in order to avoid logistical issues.”
Mr Mate-Kodjo (right) addressing the journalists
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI