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Trade Minister calls for continuous upgrade of ICUMS to enhance revenue collection

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, has called for continuous improvement and upgrade of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) to make it robust and flexible to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness of revenue collection at the ports.

The, he said, would help improve trade facilitation and aid the country to meet the changing dynamics of trade in the world.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting with a six-member delegation from CUPIA at the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in Accra.

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 Danso Adjei 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 the 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.

Also, there was 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 challenges the country faced with its trade facilitation system was the fragmented nature of the process of clearing goods with different service providers in the trade facilitation space.

“So in 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 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 all those 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.

Mr Kyerematen said within the first three months of implementation the ICUMS, in spite of the initial challenges, the revenues generated were enormous.

He said the system was being strengthened to make it more robust.

The Minister said the ICUMS were initially piloted at various border revenue collection points before being rolled out at the Tema and Airport where there were bulk cargoes.

Gambia has contracted Ghana Link to implement the Uni-Pass system in their ports.

Rev Owusu-Amoah, said CUPIA Uni-Pass system was working well.

“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 called 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 cooperation.

He said CUPIA would continue to work with Ghana Link and the Ghana Revenue Authority to improve the ICUMS.

Mr Kim commended the Trade Minister for his leadership and assistance which had made the CUPIA Uni-Pass project
successful.

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