ICUMS generates GH¢10.5 billion for GRA despite COVID-19 impact on trade volumes

Data emerging from the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA shows the total revenues generated by the Integrated Customs Management System ICUMS for the GRA has reached a record high of some GH¢10.5 billion as at December 12, 2020.

This consist of some GH¢7.6 billion for the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority from import duty generated of goods in and out of Ghana, with the rest being revenues generated by Domestic Tax Revenue Division DTRD of the GRA raising some GH¢2.7 billion through the ICUMS and Non-GRA revenues which is 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 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 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.

Today government officials and the GRA itself have become enthused with the revenue performance of the ICUMS pointing out that it has improved despite the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade volumes. This, they argue, suggests even better revenue improvement when the pandemic eventually subsides.

Apart from June 2020, when revenue generated by the ICUMS drop by almost 4% below what was generated same period in 2019 which is as a result of the challenges which dogged the deployment at Tema, the current data for the rest of the year has seen an upward trend in revenue performance.

Comparing year on year you will see that in July 2020 while the ICUMS generated over GH¢1.1billion, while the GCNet and West Blue put 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 GHc1.2billion while the old vendors (GCNet and West Blue) raised GH¢952million year on year (August 2019). In September 2020 ICUMS generated above GHc1.2billion representing some 35% increase of revenue compared to the GH¢920million 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 GHc1billion but again they were out performed by the ICUMS of Ghana Link Network Services Ltd which generated some GHc1.2 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¢980million) 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 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 has told the media that after a successful implementation of the 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 successfully 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.

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