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GRA, South Korea Customs Service partner, to enhance port operations

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, (2nd left), Commissioner-General of the GRA, and Mr Kim Young Moon, Commissioner of the South Korea Customs Service, exchanging documents after appending their signatures to the MoU
Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, (2nd left), Commissioner-General of the GRA, and Mr Kim Young Moon, Commissioner of the South Korea Customs Service, exchanging documents after appending their signatures to the MoU

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the South Korea Customs Service (KCS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote the digitisation and modernisation of the Customs Division of the GRA.

The agreement will allow the KCS to share with Ghana’s Customs officers knowledge, technology and experience on the use of Uni-Pass Trade Facilitation and Customs Management Systems, a new single window trade facilitation tool that enhances port operations and the paperless system.

The partnership is expected to boost revenue generation, as well as ensure efficiency and transparency in customs processes and procedures.

Signing

The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, and the Commissioner of the Customs Division, Mr Isaac Crentsil, signed on behalf of the GRA, while the Commissioner of the KCS, Mr Kim Young Moon, appended his signature for the KCS.

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At the signing ceremony in Accra last Friday, Mr Nti said innovation and technology were always a top agenda of the government.

Optimistic of the various measures the KCS had applied to reap significant improvement in revenue collections, he expressed the GRA’s desire to tap into Korea’s experience in order to shore up GRA’s revenue mobilisation.

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“Our priority is to improve revenue mobilisation by building the capacity of staff, increase surveillance and strengthen international ties.

“Achieving all these requires learning from other institutions for benchmarking and best practices and I know that our colleagues from the KCS will be more than willing to assist us,” Mr Nti said.

Cargo management

Mr Crentsil said the adoption of the Pre-Arrival Assessment and Reporting System, the use of the Single Window system with electronic documentation and the application of a paperless port clearing system had opened Ghana’s economy up to the world as the gateway to doing business in the ECOWAS sub-region.

The increased volumes of international trade, he said, had led to large volumes of export and import transactions and activities.

“These come with enormous and complex data, the smooth and fast processing of which calls for digitisation to be able to cope with the required standards and practices in trade facilitation and to be able to attract and promote foreign investment and the transfer of technology,” he said.

For his part, Mr Moon said with the installation of clearing systems at the country’s ports, Ghana would have a strong cargo management system that would lead to increased revenue mobilisation, while trading companies in the country would experience swift clearing of cargo.

“For both countries, trade facilitation will lead to more import and export between them and the increase in relationship will lead to understanding either country,” he said, and promised that the KCS would do its best to deliver the best systems to the Ghana government.

“And I believe that the Ghana Government will give utmost assistance and cooperation during our journey together. I want today to be a milestone between the two countries, especially in the customs area,” he added.

Tailor-made system

The South Korean Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Kim Sungsoo, in his remarks, said the Uni-Pass technology currently served as the electronic government (e-government) platform of Korea and was being implemented in some countries in Africa.

“I sincerely hope that the Uni-Pass, when implemented, will offer an efficient and tailor-made system to provide a comprehensive national single window platform for Ghana to help boost its customs operations,” he said.

Mr Sungsoo expressed optimism that the collaboration would become one of the cases of best practice which would support the President’s signature agenda, Ghana Beyond Aid, which sought to “conscientise Ghanaians on developing their own country through the use of the country’s resources, rather than reliance on foreign resources”.