Data from the Ghana Revenue Authority show the total revenues generated by the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) for the authority has reached a record high of GH¢10.5billion as at December 12, 2020.
This consists of GH¢7.6billion for the Customs Division from import duty and export of goods, with the rest being revenues generated by the Domestic Tax Revenue Division and Non-GRA revenues.
It is instructive to note the GRA in June 2020 claimed that prior to switching over to the new platform, its predecessor – the National Single Window System operated by GC Net in partnership with West Blue Consulting – was generating a monthly average amount of GH¢940million.
The new data then justifies government’s decision to have the new platform deployed by South Korea’s CUPIA in collaboration with its local partner, Ghana Link Network Services. Today, government officials and the GRA itself have become enthused with the revenue performance of ICUMS; pointing out that it has improved despite the adverse impact of COVID-19 on trade volumes.
Apart from June 2020, when revenue generated by the ICUMS dropped by almost 4% below what was generated in the same period of 2019 due to the challenges which dogged the deployment at Tema, the current data have seen an upward trend.
Comparing year on year, you will see that in July 2020 while the ICUMS generated over GH¢1.1billion, the old vendors generated duty payments of GH¢949million. A similar trend has been noticed throughout the rest of the year – with ICUMS’ system outperforming the old system by more than 20% each month.
Coming from the election and going into 2021, public revenue collection has become even more crucial for government than usual, as the coronavirus outbreak’s impact has drastically limited its traditional sources of revenues – even as its health and social intervention spending has been driven upward dramatically and the debt level has also ballooned.
When it comes to the number of days its takes for one to clear goods from the port, the Customs Division has stated that there have been significant improvements with the clearance time of goods at our ports and land-entering points. According to them, the average number of days for one to clear goods, at the ports especially, is four days. Average clearance time is calculated from when a declaration is submitted to the ICUMS system till when the cargo is released from Customs.
Success of ICUMS
Assistant Commissioner of Customs in charge of the Accra Sector Command who is also the ICUMS Implementation Committee Chairman, Emmanuel Ohene, in recent interviews with the media hailed the success of ICUMS, which is significantly transforming trade facilitation.
The system’s success, according to him, includes 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.
2nd phase of ICUMS to be done by first quarter of 2021
Mr. Ohene noted that after successful implementation of the ICUMS phase-one, the trading the public should expect the second phase to be rolled 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 is significantly progressive with regard to trade facilitation in Ghana.