Customs to introduce e-auction regime this year

BY: Maclean Kwofi
Customs
Col Kwadwo Damoah, Commissioner of Customs

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is set to introduce an electronic auction regime in the first quarter of 2022 for interested persons to bid for items of their choice on auction through a more transparent process.

The new initiative will replace the manual auction being held for many years and often saddled with scores of people claiming to be political party foot soldiers asking for favours and advantages to bid for items of their choice.

It will be part of phase two of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), a single window platform in deployment for cargo clearance at the country’s ports.

Under the second phase, 13 modules, including authorised economic operators, post clearance audit (PCA), e– wallet, simplified clearance/postal, investigations, customs laboratory activities, duty drawback, re–scheduling, performance management, state warehouse management, surveillance, and Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) are expected to be rollout to further improve the country's revenue collection process.

Media training

The Deputy Managing Director of Ghana Link Network Services Limited, Mr Clyde Adjei, who made this known at a media training on ICUMS in Accra, observed that the second phase would further improve revenue collection, block loopholes and make clearing at the ports and other entry points seamless and stress free.

The training was meant for journalists from the Port Journalists Network (PJN) and other selected editors.

The PJN is a group of seasoned journalists who have been reporting on ports and maritime issues over the past years and have come together to form an association to champion issues that concern port and maritime in the country.

First phase of ICUMS

Mr Adjei said although Ghana Link had been successful with the rollout of the first phase of ICUMS, it continued to offer training to all stakeholders, as it prepared to rollout phase two of the project.

“It is with this background that we have decided to enhance your capacity to fully appreciate and embrace the system to help in effective and responsible reporting about ICUMS to the public.

“I trust that this exercise will be the beginning of our friendship or relationship of mutual benefit which will lead to the media here in this room supporting Ghana Link to communicate our work to the public and help us to receive feedback from users of the ICUMS system most of whom you interact with daily,” he said.

That, he said, would enable Ghana Link to continuously improve the system, for it to become the best port clearance system in Africa in the area of trade facilitation and most importantly help in revenue mobilisation in the best interest of the country.

“I hope you find this training useful and I do assure you that our doors are open for you to reach us anytime if you have questions or challenges in the area of our work,” he said.

Ports and maritime operations

The Team Lead of PJN, Mr Elvis Darko, noted that the economy revolves round trade which was anchored on ports and maritime operations.

He noted that the ports remain the single largest revenue generator for the country and, therefore, deserves all the needed attention.

To buttress his point, he said that of the GH¢63 billion total revenue for 2020, GRA collected GH¢45 billion.

He explained that Customs alone collected GH¢12 billion of the total revenue of GH¢63 billion in 2020.

Mr Darko stressed the need for the media to make issues of the ports and maritime sectors topical to help address the challenges facing the industry to propel economic growth.