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Business News of Monday, 28 December 2020


ICUMS generates GH¢10.5bn for GRA despite coronavirus impact on trade volumes

Emmanuel Ohene, Assistant Commissioner of Customs Emmanuel Ohene, Assistant Commissioner of Customs

Total revenue generated by the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has reached a record-high of GH¢10.5 billion as at December 12, 2020, according to available data.

The data presented by the GRA show that the revenue figures consist of GH¢7.6 billion for the Customs Division of the GRA from import duty generated for goods in and out of Ghana, with the rest being revenues generated by Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA raising some GHc2.7 billion through the ICUMS.

Also, non-GRA revenues are also hovering around a little over GH¢140 million.

"It is instructive to note that, the GRA in June 2020 had through a press conference which was addressed by the Commissioner-General claimed that prior to the switch over to the new platform [ICUMS], its predecessor, the National Single Window System operated by GCNet in partnership with West Blue Consulting, was generating a monthly average amount of GH¢940 million.

"This new data justify government’s decision to have the new platform deployed by South Korea’s CUPIA in collaboration with its local partner, Ghana Link Network Services Ltd, despite the resistance from stakeholders during the roll-out and the technical challenges the system faced by the team when the ICUMS went live nationwide June 1, 2020, not forgetting that the clearing and forwarding community also expressed dissatisfaction," the GRA said in a statement.

The statement added that officials of the GRA are happy with the revenue performance of the ICUMS as it has improved despite the adverse impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on trade volumes.

According to the data from the GRA, apart from June 2020, when the revenue generated by the ICUMS dropped by almost 4% below what was generated same period in 2019.

This was as a result of the challenges that dogged the deployment at Tema, the current data for the rest of the year has seen an upward trend in revenue performance.

A year-on-year analysis also shows that in July 2020, while ICUMS generated over GH¢1.1billion, the GCNet and West Blue together generated duty payments of GH¢949 million.

This represents a 23% increase for the ICUMS.

Again, in August 2020 the percentage increase in revenues by the ICUMS was around 32%, generating duty payment of some GH¢1.2 billion while the old vendors (GCNet and West Blue) raised GH¢952 million year-on-year (August 2019).

In September 2020 ICUMS generated above GHc1.2billion representing some 35% increase of revenue compared to the GHc920million duty payments in the same period in 2019.

Still, on the year-on-year comparison, November 2019 was the best performance of the old vendors as they raised a little over GH¢1 billion but again they were outperformed by the ICUMS of Ghana Link Network Services Ltd which generated some GH¢1.2 billion representing an increase of 26% in percentage terms.

In October 2020 the ICUMS raised 35% (GH¢1.3bilion) in revenues higher than what the GCNet and West Blue (GH¢980 million) generated for the government.

Coming from the election and going into 2021, public revenue collection has become even more crucial for government than usual as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has drastically limited its traditional sources of revenues even as its health and social intervention spending have been driven upwards dramatically and has seen the debt levels also balloon.

Just last week, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs in charge of the Accra Sector Command, who is also the ICUMS implementation Committee Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ohene, in an interview with the media hailed the success of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), which he said has significantly transformed trade facilitation.

The success of the system according to him, includes the elimination of the multiple routes prior to payment of duties, seamless processes, increasing revenue, speedy processing of pre-manifest declaration, and undertaking classification and valuation in the same system, among others.

Second phase of ICUMS to be done by Q1 2021

Mr Ohene has told the media that after a successful implementation of phase one of the ICUMS, the second phase the trading the public should expect it to be roll-out by the first quarter of 2021.

While admitting to some genuine complaints of the trading public regarding the new system, he pointed out that the ICUMS was significantly progressive with regard to trade facilitation in Ghana.

He, therefore, encouraged users of the system to be hopeful as the introduction of the second phase of the system, would see the few challenges fixed, as well as many added innovations.

The ICUMS was first deployed at the various frontiers in March 2020 following a successful pilot at Aflao and Elubo a month earlier in February. In April Takoradi having undergone simulations and stress test took-off.

Then finally Ghana’s biggest port in terms of size and ability to accept cargo volumes was hooked onto the ICUMS system on June 1, 2020.