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I've Full Confidence ICUMS Will Be A Success — GRA Commissioner-General

By Eric Nana Yaw Kwafo
Acting Commissioner-General at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah Acting Commissioner-General at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah
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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has assured the general public that it is committed to fixing all the challenges encountered in the newly introduced Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).

On Tuesday, April 28, 2020, the GRA announced the commencement of ICUMS at all frontiers stations and ports of entry in the country before subsequently it was deployed at the Tema port on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Though in the last few weeks the system has proven to boost revenue mobilization at the various ports and entry points, its numerous challenges cannot be overlooked.

At a press conference in Accra today, the Acting Commissioner-General at the Ghana Revenue Authority, Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah has stressed that they will ensure the various problems encountered so far are resolved.

“I wish to use this opportunity to assure the trading public that these are teething challenges which are associated with the introduction of every new system. We will ensure that all challenges will be dealt with as they arise”, he said.

Mr. Owusu-Amoah added, “I have full confidence that all staff of the Customs Division will rise up to the challenge to make ICUMS a success story and rake in the needed revenue for national development and we look forward to continue engaging all our stakeholders for a successful implementation of the ICUMS.

Read the full press statement from the GRA below:

SPEECH BY AG. COMMISSIONER-GENERAL, GHANA

REVENUE AUTHORITY, REV. AMMISHADDAI OWUSUAMOAH ON THE INTEGRATED CUSTOMS MANAGEMENT

SYSTEM (ICUMS) ON THURSDAY JUNE 18, 2020

Commissioners of GRA,

Top Management of GRA,

Deputy Commissioners,

Management and staff of GRA,

Distinguished Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I warmly welcome you all to this media briefing which is to provide you with information on the operation of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), since its rollout in Customs offices and its eventual deployment at the Tema port on Monday 1st June 2020.

The introduction of ICUMS in the Customs clearing system at both the ports and the entry points forms part of the Government of Ghana’s agenda to digitize the clearance processes and an introduction of an end-to-end system in line with international best practice and to provide superior customer service to all our stakeholders. Coming after the successful introduction of the paperless port clearance system, the ICUMS seeks to move the clearing of goods in Ghana to a higher level of excellence in revenue mobilization at the country’s ports.

With our objective to bring about improvements with the deployment of ICUMS at the Tema port, a lot of concerns have been raised by our stakeholders such as importers, exporters, clearing agents, Civil Society organisations, and sections of the media. These concerns have been closely examined and we wish to provide you with measures that have been made to address them in order to ensure that the operation of the ICUMS runs smoothly to bring in the expected revenue to the state.

REVENUE

On the average a total revenue of Nine Hundred and Forty-Two million

(942 million) is collected monthly from the country’s entry points. With the deployment of ICUMS the Customs Division has been able to collect from 1st to 17th June a total of Four Hundred and Ninety million (490 million). Looking at this trend, it is obvious that the Authority will not be losing revenue as being highlighted by some sections of society.

CHALLENGES

Some issues that were identified after the deployment of the ICUMS are:

  1. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) not populating at the front-end of declarant – As we speak TIN’s have been populated on ICUMS for

easy retrieval.

  1. Co-loading and manifest matching – this issue has been resolved. Alternative arrangements have been made for all importers who still have challenges with manifest matching.
  2. Additional training for stakeholders and change management issues - It must be noted that since November 2019, training sessions have been organized for all stakeholders, including importers and staff before the system went live. We assure all stakeholders that training is still ongoing, especially in collaboration with the Freight Forwarders Associations to ensure that buy-in is achieved.
  3. Customs Bill of Entry (BOE) – in all about 53,000 BOEs have been processed nationwide in ICUMS.
    • Of these, in Tema16,000 have been submitted,  Over 12,000 relates to pre-manifest processes.

    The current average is 1,500 BOEs a day which compares favourably with what was being processed in the previous system.

      • Out of the total Tema BOEs, about 11,000 have been successfully processed.
      • About 5,000 of the BOEs are at various stages of processing at Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB)
      • About 4000, that is 25 percent of the total submissions delayed for reasons such as unanswered queries by declarants for the necessary supporting documents, manifest mismatch and to effect corrections. These include MDA requirements such as permits and fees. These queries as at a week today were at 40% but has reduced to 25%.

      Lack of Call centres or feedback management centres to deal with issues – We have established a call centres and Support Service desks both at the Tema Long Room and at the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB). These centres deal with complaints of declarations for speedy resolution. Additionally, a toll free number 0800-900-113 has been established to address the concerns of the trading public.

      1. Demurrage- We are engaging with relevant stakeholders together with Ministry of Trade & Industry to see what can be done for cases related to initial challenges in the system.

      It is important to emphasis that, ICUMS is a fully integrated port community, single window and e- clearance system. All Shipping Lines/ Agents Terminal

      Operations, Container Freight Stations, Licensed Customs House Agents, Freight Forwarders, bounded Warehouses/ Free Zones Operators and other port community players have been registered on the system. We have enrolled in excess of 6,000 port community users and all processes are fully automated.

      These numbers paint a very optimistic picture which speaks for itself. I wish to use this opportunity to assure the trading public that these are teething challenges which are associated with the introduction of every new system. We will ensure that all challenges will be dealt with as they arise. I have full confidence that all staff of the Customs Division will rise up to the challenge to make ICUMS a success story and rake in the needed revenue for national development and we look forward to continue engaging all our stakeholders for a successful implementation of the ICUMS.

      Thank you for your attention.

      God bless us all.

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