Ghana Link Network Services Ltd, technical operator of the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS) at the nation’s ports, has received honours from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in recognition of the successful deployment of the system.
This was at an event organised by the Customs Division to mark the 2022 World Customs Organisation (WCO) Day, during which the WCO Certificate of Merit was presented to Ghana Link, as well as some personnel of the Division and other stakeholders who have contributed positively to it meeting its mandate.
In a special citation, the Division thanked the service provider for the deployment of what it described as “one of the best trade facilitation tools to help in the trade processes in Ghana.”
“This is presented to you for creating an innovative, engaging and inspiring customs and trade facilitation platform for Ghana’s international trade process, by providing an end-to-end and a robust single window for Ghana’s Trade and Cargo Clearance ecosystem,” the citation signed by the Commissioner of Customs Col. Kwadwo Damoah (RTD) read.
The Division in its citation further stated: “Your role and responsibilities in the deployment of the ICUMS as a tool for trade facilitation and revenue maximation will forever remain etched in gold.”
Raymond Amaglo the Director of Operations at Ghana Link, who, together with the Director of Human Resources (HR) Cynthia Ahinkurah, received the citation and WCO certificate, thanked the Division for the gesture.
He said it was heart-warming to receive such an award from the institution most impacted by the system, especially on the occasion of the world Customs day celebration.
“We dedicate this award to all the stakeholders who have, in no small way, contributed to this feat being chalked across the board since the rollout of this end-to-end, e-Customs management and trade facilitation system across the country,” he added.
Mr. Amaglo offered assurance that Ghana Link will not rest on its oars but continue to work even harder to ensure the gains made are not only sustained but progressively improved upon.
Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, , in a speech read on his behalf, charged the Customs Division of GRA to put in more efforts to increase revenue at the ports to bolster the government’s quest to significantly improve Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio.
“Notwithstanding the successes chalked, I am confident that there is more GRA and Customs Division, in particular, can do to further enhance its level of efficiency, whiles reducing revenue leakages at the ports to its barest minimum. Towards these efforts, the ministry believes that it will add on significantly in improving Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio from the current 13 percent to 20 percent by 2024,” the Minister said.
He also assured the Customs Division of the government’s utmost support to achieve its goals.
Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), the Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, who similarly read the speech of the Secretary-General of the WCO, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, said over the years, digital technology had evolved rapidly, and Customs could now access data from other government agencies, commercially available databases, and open-source information platforms such as digitised global public records and multilingual news sources.
He said the extent to which data could be used effectively depended on various factors surrounding data ethics, including privacy, commercial secrecy, and legal issues regarding the use of data by customs and tax administrations.
Dr. Mikuriya said to build data ecosystems or consolidate existing ones, the following enabling actions – establishing formal data governance to ensure the relevance, accuracy, and timeliness of data and making use of the standards developed by the WCO and other institutions regarding data format and data exchange – must be adhered to.
The International Customs Day, which is observed globally on January 26 every year, was under the theme “Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem.”
In Ghana, the occasion saw dignitaries from the government, former personnel of the Customs Division of the GRA, and other stakeholders in attendance.