The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana has commended the technical team, management and all individuals who worked “tirelessly” to ensure that the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) realised its goal in “making trade facilitation easier at the country’s ports”.
The association said in a statement signed by its Executive Secretary Samson Asaki Awingobit that since it began operation at the country’s ports a year ago, ICUMS has accrued to the government some GH¢18.1 billion.
The figure, according to some industry players, is “unprecedented”, the statement noted.
In view of this, the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana believes the ICUMS system, which came into force “amidst pressure from stakeholders” and was fraught with “technical challenges” in its early stages of implementation, “must be commended and given the needed support to exceed its targets in the coming years”.
“As members of the trade society, it is the expectation of the association that ICUMS will continue with its training of stakeholders to have a better understanding of the system and that of future systems yet to be introduced”, the statement said.
It noted: “We, at Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, believes the success chalked by ICUMS has reflected in swift customs clearance, improved cross-border trading” and ultimately impacted revenue mobilisation positively.
“It’s also the hope of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana that ICUMS will chalk more successes in the coming year with the ultimate goal of making Ghana’s ports the preferred hub for trade in the whole of Africa”.
Boosting Trade and Revenue Mobilisation
The Government of Ghana, Customs Division of the GRA, UNIPASS-Ghana and other well-meaning agencies joined forces to usher Ghana’s trade to a single-window system the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) during the Akufo-Addo administration’s first term.
Functioning fully as an e-Customs system, it was introduced to coordinate cross-border trade activities, cut cost to stakeholders and increase Government revenue mobilisation.
The change stemmed from the rising cost in port transactions, delayed clearance of goods and what the government deemed, ‘a huge leakage in revenue mobilisation.’ Another challenge stakeholders faced was the use of multiple online platforms in assessing valuation, classification, risk management and payment; which were jointly managed by the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) Ltd and West Blue Consulting at the time.
The innovation was launched to revive the trade sector and came as a direct successor of the former Pre-Arrival Assessment Report System (PAARS) and the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS).
Features of ICUMS
· As a single-window for processing documents and payments, it allows users to create Unique Consignment Reference (UCR), an exclusive number for easy identification and tracking of all cargo.
· It provides all needed assistance on one platform without the need to switch between different systems to access varied services.
· ICUMS also features a stand-by human resource management model that identifies officers assigned to a consignment and records the period in which activities on the consignment were carried out.
· The System streamlines the tracing of missing cargos and features end-to-end tracking which does not allow operators to tamper with figures.
The ICUMS Portal saw a major facelift in interface design and the application of standard web technology to simplify navigation and help cross-border traders understand it better.