The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in collaboration with the Ghana Link Network Services Limited and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), has successfully conducted a simulation exercise for the new Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).
The exercise, which involved the Meridian Port Services (MPS) Limited, Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Shipping Lines, National Security, Narcotics Control Board (NACOB), Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Bank of Ghana (BoG), Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), Free Zones Authority and all other stakeholders at the Port of Tema, was aimed at testing the ICUMS’ ability to aid the free flow of both imports and exports.
It was also to test the response time in dealing with the simulated incident when multiple government entities are involved to react immediately upon request, based on a scenario involving the grounding of a vessel due to an oil spill that could have environmental repercussions on the port’s marine wildlife.
Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who was part of the delegation of government officials to observe the simulation and stress test, expressed satisfaction of the progress of work so far in the implementation of the project.
He also charged the GRA to ensure that the ICUMS has a smooth take-off.
“This exercise has been very successful, with the system able to accept the manifest from shipping lines, and the ability of freight forwarders to use it. I must say with what we have seen today, I have no doubt that we’ll be able to take–off come implementation date. The rest of the work rests on the customs officials who will have to stand ready for the take-off.”
The success of the simulation was seen in the readiness of the ICUMS for public use at the Sea Port of Tema and Kotoka International Airport (KIA).
After the exercise, the acting Commissioner–General of GRA, Amisshadai Owusu-Amoah, assured the Senior Minister of the authority’s determination to ensure the project’s smooth take-off.
“Everything is going as planned and I’m impressed with the effort put in by the service provider and my officers. The simulation has been successful, and it gives us the confidence with regard to the rollout date,” he stated.
He added that when the ICUMS is fully deployed at the Tema Port, which is the biggest in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), the country would see an increase in revenue over time, with many of the current loopholes blocked.
The entourage included the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen; his deputy, Carlos Ahenkorah; Deputy Minister of Finance, Kwaku Kwarteng; and other government officials.
Currently, there have been training and registration for users of the ICUMS system, which covered freight forwarders, Shipping Lines, government agencies, Customs Division of GRA and all other individuals who will be using the system, with some others also currently undergoing training.
The ICUMS system is expected to be deployed at the end of May at the Tema Port and the KIA.
Ghana Link Network Services is the company spearheading the deployment of the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), an end-to-end single window.
ICUMS, which is the name of the Ghana version of Universal Pass (UNI-PASS), is built by Korea Customs and is a new all-in-one customs management solution owned by the Government of Ghana.
Ghana Link Network Services Limited, which has a 10-year contract with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, partnered Korea Customs to introduce UNI-PASS in Ghana.
ICUMS is also a modern and world-class technology acknowledged by international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Customs Organisation (WCO), The World Bank, and World Economic Forum (WEF), which is used to facilitate trade, ensure supply chain security and increase revenue.
UNI-PASS is the only technology in the area of trade facilitation, security/safety and revenue mobilisation developed by a customs agency aimed at solving customs and trade-related issues.