GCNet: Best bet for trade facilitation and revenue mobilization

March 16, 2017
Source: Norvan Acquah - Hayford/thebftonline.com/Ghana
GCNet:  Best bet for trade facilitation and revenue mobilization

Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) is an Information and Communication Technology Public-Private Partnership with a mandate to provide e-Solutions to Government.

GCNet was incorporated on November 13, 2000 with its shareholders being Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Ecobank Ghana Limited (EBG), Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) and Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) of Switzerland.

The company has over the years played a major role in building and deploying systems which has enhanced revenue mobilisiation by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). Since beginning of its operations in Ghana GCNet has helped the GRA to increase the country’s revenue from GH¢249214465.42 in 2003 to GH¢13160942845.48 in 2016.

Being the first to have deployed a semblance of single window platform in Ghana, GCNet built and deployed the single window platform in the country for the monitoring and helping to generate the right values for goods and products at our ports.

The Single Window Platform was developed and deployed for processing trade transactions and Customs clearances as it was part of the provision of e-Solutions to government.

The System is made up of a front-end Electronic Messaging Platform (the TradeNet) and a back-end System (the Ghana Customs Management System [GCMS].

The TradeNet System allows for a 24/7 processing of declarations and is currently deployed at Customs Headquarters and all the key Customs Stations with Ninety-eight (98) percent of Customs revenue being collected through the System.

In addition to GCMS, linkage of other back-end applications deployed by the GCNet is Ghana Integrated Cargo Clearance System (GICCS), the Electronic Registration of Business System, the Electronic Tax Administration System and the i-Transit System for the Processing of Goods in Transit to Landlocked Neighboring Countries. (e.g. Automated Registration of Vehicles, Income Tax Declarations, Social Security Declarations etc.) is possible.

Currently all the thirty-six (36) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Ghana Standards Authority, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Investment Protection Centre (GIPC), Ministries of Trade and Finance etc.., access the TradeNet for various operational purposes.

As these Solutions are Primarily for Governments and Statutory Agencies to Promote and Facilitate Trade, Business Competitiveness and improve Revenue Collection, GCNet has adopted the slogan “B2G”, which means “Your Business to Government Company”.

GCNet continues to play a critical role in the areas of Trade Facilitation and Revenue Mobilization in Ghana. This has been reflected in the number of new deployments that it had undertaken over the years.

Firstly, it has successfully executed its mandate to automate the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), with a number of Large, Medium and Small Tax Offices being automated.

GCNet is also responsible for the automation process of business registration and the online registration for the Registrar General's Department(RGD).

They can be also credited with the new process of registering businesses and individuals for their Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) undertaken by the GRA and the RGD. The exercise had been marked by the registration and re-registration of taxpayers (both Corporate and individuals), thereby facilitating filing of annual company returns and tax payments.

The automation programme also makes provision for interfacing with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the National Identification Authority for the cross verification of taxpayers' details.

The implementation of this new project has made a further positive impact on the business environment, especially in terms of facilitating trade processes and enhancing the competitiveness of business operations in the country. Also by facilitating tax payments, revenue mobilization has also been enhanced.

Within the context of trade facilitation across borders and securing its inherent revenue risks also, the GCNet transit service has been revamped with its positive impacts. Having pioneered the usage of satellite tracking of transit cargos in sub-Saharan Africa, GCNet has revamped the service with the deployment of a new technology.

GCNet's achievement also continues to be recognized both locally and internationally. Thus on the local scene, GCNet retained its Seventh ranking in the prestigious Ghana 100 listing of the top 100 companies in Ghana.

On the International scene, GCNet has maintained its position among the most successful Private-Public Partnerships (PPP) in Africa.

As one of the foremost Ghanaian Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) that has been established and duly recognized by the World Bank and other Institutions as such, GCNet has received many International accolades.

GCNet is internationally recognized as a trailblazer in the provision of e-Solutions to Government. Many International Organizations have paid courtesy calls on GCNet to hear its success story and understudy its model.

Being part of the Ghana Club 100 companies, GCNet has also received some international awrds in recent times include ``Best Public-Private Partnership” Company in West Africa at the 4th PPP MedAfrique Awards, held in Paris and an award by the World Customs Organization for its deployment of Ghana Customs Management System for Customs operations.