The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), a public-private partnership, has deployed an upgraded version of its end to end smart clearance system for stakeholders to boost domestic revenue collection.
The upgraded (Trade Facilitation Platform – TFP) is also designed to enhance user experience and improve the ease of doing business.
The TFP, an integrated platform for document submission for licensing, Permits, Certificates and Others (LPCO), Declaration Processing and Cargo Management among other functions for the efficient and paperless processing of customs and trade transactions, went live on March 8, 2019.
Bollore Logistics was the first shipping line to successfully use the new system to process trade documents such as the manifest for onward lodgement into the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS).
Touting the benefits of the TFP, Head of IT Projects at GCNet, Mr. Mustapha Abdul, noted that transactions can be processed and disseminated electronically to the appropriate statutory agencies that may need relevant portions of the documents based on the product line.
He added that the TFP supports the World Trade Organisation (WTO) requirement of single submission of trade documents and also all modules within the Ghana single window application suite.
According to him, users can submit declarations and permits at one go without having to duplicate data.
‘The new TFP applications allow for easy and quicker interfacing with stakeholders within the logistics supply chain (Terminal operators, Shipping Agencies, ground handlers etc) in a seamless manner,’ Mr. Abdul observed.
“Another unique feature with the TFP is that key documents like manifest, declaration and permits fully comply with the World Customs Organisation Government Cross Border Regulatory Specification,” he emphasized.
Applications Support Specialist at GCNet, Mr. Godfred Narkwa also acknowledged how the new TFP has significantly made the exchange of documents among stakeholders across borders easier.
He explained that the platform has the ability to accommodate multiple manifest formats to ease stakeholder integration and system usage including latest WCO accepted format (CUSCAR D11).
“It also supports the latest IATA format for submitting air manifest which is currently used by all the major airlines in the world,” Mr. Narkwa remarked.
Explaining how the TFP works, Deputy Manager in charge of Training, Mr. Agyaaku Nkansa, said the setting up of the architecture and infrastructure for the e-application involved a number of processes that have been integrated such as configuring multiple modules and migration of data.
Mr. Nkansa noted that ‘the deployment of the integrated high-end e-application comes on the back of GCNet’s continuous efforts to innovate and remain relevant to its mandate conceived since inception, to support revenue mobilisation by Government, foster trade facilitation and enhance business competitiveness’.
Head of Communications at GCNet, Mrs. Aba Lokko, intimated that GCNet continues to be at the center of Government’s digitization journey with Ghana operating one of the most advanced systems for e-Custom clearance and e-Tax administration in Africa.
“These deployed systems have stood the test of time, by subjecting it to continuous upgrade to meet international standards with local relevance,” Mrs. Lokko asserted.
Mrs. Lokko explained that GCNet by its unique position provided a broad overview of business registration, domestic taxation and international customs duties as a result of the systems deployed for business to government, government to government and business to business relationships.
She reiterated GCNet’s commitment to improving government revenue mobilization from duties and taxes, improving the ease of doing business ranking as well as making Ghana competitive for trade.
She was optimistic that the company will continue to roll out more innovative e-solutions that will widen the tax net to improve revenue mobilization for national development.
In 2002, Ghana moved from a manual clearance system when GCNet deployed the first Single Window (SW) System called TradeNet, which provided a single platform for all players in the clearance chain.
In 2008, it transitioned to the deployment of a state of the art web-based clearance system that streamlined and improved cargo clearance in the ports.
By 2012, GCNet transitioned to a smart clearance system that ensures trade and customs transactions were conducted with an end to end smart solution for clearance processes in the trading community GCNet was incorporated on November 13, 2000. Its shareholders are Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), Ecobank Ghana Limited (EBG), Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) and Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) of Switzerland.