ICUMS’ phase-two introduces major innovations to fight COVID-19
Advanced passenger information
Authorised operator systems to be activated
Phase-two of implementing the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) will see the introduction of some major innovations that would not only facilitate trade but also fight the effects of COVID-19 on operations of the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division, chairman of the implementation team of ICUMS, Emmanuel Ohene, has told the B&FT.
According to him, the major innovations which will start from the first quarter of this year include: the setting up of an electronic wallet (e-wallet) for all clients; categorising some clients as authorised economic operators; and collection of advance-passenger information from some clients to hasten the clearance processes.
He further explained that the e-wallet will help address many of the financial disagreements and challenges occasioned by the Customs set-up: “We have an e-wallet, which is an innovation that is coming in to ensure that monies for refunds and overpayments are stored on that e-wallet. Issues like refunds and overpayments can be easily addressed by the security of that money on your e-wallet”.
Some customers and businesses will also be classified as authorised economic operators. This will enable the businesses and customers engaged in international trade to avoid the full administrative and practical burdens of dealing with Customs controls when moving goods across borders.
Mr. Ohene said: “For the authorised economic information operators, for instance, what it entails is that all business operators – regardless of what you want to do, if you meet the criteria that is set aside from the World Customs Organisation, you are going to be placed in a particular bracket where you have the exercise of less Customs control on your activities.”
The third major innovation will be the collection of advanced passenger information to enable Customs process goods even before they touch-down at the airport.
“When you have what we call the advanced passenger information system in place, many people will have a quick turnaround time for goods imported. This is an innovation we are doing with the Ghana Airports Company Limited, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and other stakeholders to receive advance information on passengers who are arriving into the country – to profile them for risk purposes and to determine whether their consignment should enjoy some fast-tracking,” he added.
The Customs Division of the GRA is positive that these innovations, among others, will further increase revenue collection at their various locations across the country this year.
Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Col. Kwadwo Damoah, has revealed that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, in 2020, was able to exceed its revenue target for the first time since 2017.
He said Customs was able to collect GH¢12.3billion revenue in 2020, which exceeded the expected GH¢10.9billion revised target.
Thus, Mr. Ohene says, even with the three major innovations introduced, 2021 will be better than last year amid the effects of COVID-19.