For the third consecutive year, the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has been adjudged the Trade Facilitation Organisation of the Year at the prestigious Ghana Shippers Awards recently held in Accra. The company was also recognised as Company of the Year.
GCNet emerged as the winner for the two awards because of its pioneering and leadership role in the trade facilitation industry. GCNet at the centre of Ghana’s digitization journey has leveraged technology to transform the economy through the deployment of innovative systems that facilitate trade, reduce the associated cost of trade, improve business competitiveness and also enhance revenue mobilization.
The Ghana Shippers Awards recognises excellence, hard work and encouraged strict adherence to compliance and transparency in the transport and shipping industry. In all, there were 52 award categories in the 2019 Ghana Shippers Awards, with 15 penned for special recognition awards to industry actors who have excelled in their contribution to reshaping the ecosystem for growth
For the past 17 years, GCNet has provided the infrastructure that networks all parties to a single window platform, ensuring efficiency, transparency and security in the trade facilitation and revenue mobilization ecosystem.
Commenting on the award, General Manager of GCNet, Alwin Hoegerle, noted ‘the company has continued to leverage on technology to reshape the trade facilitation and revenue mobilization space. Today, we provide an end- to- end smart e-solution for clearance at the ports. We are in a unique position with broad overview of business registration, domestic taxation and international customs duties as a result of our systems deployed”.
To ensure Transparency & Revenue Assurance to Custom operations, GCNet deployed the Trade Facilitation Platform (TFP), a comprehensive web-based suite to further enhance the Single Window offering. The TFP ensures maximum synergy between Customs, Logistics Partners and Other Government Agencies while enhancing user experience and improving the ease of doing business”, he observed
In addition, GCNet has deployed the third version of the Ghana Customs Management Systems (GCMS) and the advanced version of the Manifest document to facilitate fast clearance of goods from the ports. It has also facilitated the smooth implementation of the First Port Duty Rule policy directive and integrated the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) with the National Petroleum Authority’s (NPA) Petroleum Orders and related payment requirements to petroleum tax revenue collection.
According to Mr Hoegerle, these major milestones in the past year have added value to the trade facilitation ecosystem and impacted positively in Ghana’s position in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking.
Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Transport, Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover, pledged the Ministry’s commitment to work with all stakeholders to create a conducive regime through the provision of the necessary infrastructure and policy support that engenders a competitive business environment for accelerated development.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Ms Benonita Bismarck, noted that the continued educational engagements with stakeholders had contributed to reduction of demurrage costs and improved turn-around time.
She assured that the Authority would work to ensure the provision of robust, enduring infrastructure and systems that enhance the maritime regime
The deployment of systems with availability at 99.5percent comparable to international standards has resulted in almost fifty thousand percentage growth in Declaration Processing with close to sixty percent of all goods cleared within 48 hours, at the ports since the introduction.
Also, with the introduction of e-scheduling, e- joint inspection and e-examination, it has triggered an increase in transparency of examination, leading to about 17.5percent reduction in demurrage cost to importers.
To date, GCNet has invested more than $80m in system and infrastructure upgrades to ensure data integrity, business continuity and security in the trade facilitation and revenue mobilization ecosystem, with significant increase in the customs tax revenue mobilization realised from GHS13.1bn in 2016 to GHS15.3bn (exclusive of Petroleum Tax) in 2017 and GHS 16.3bn collected in 2018.
GCNet is a Public-Private Partnership that 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.
GCNet, an Innovator and Leader in the Provision of e-Solutions to Governments, has developed and deployed Ghana’s Single Window Platform for Processing Trade Transactions and Customs Clearances. The System is made up of a front-end Electronic Messaging Platform (the TradeNet) and a back-end System (the Ghana Customs Management System). The System allows for a 24/7 processing of declarations and is currently deployed at Customs Headquarters and all the key Customs Stations. Ninety-eight (98) percent of Customs revenue is collected through the System.
In addition to GCMS, linkage of other back-end applications (e.g. Automated Registration of Vehicles, Income Tax Declarations, Social Security Declarations etc.) is possible.
Close to Forty (40) Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including the Ghana Free Zones Board (GFZB), Ghana Standards Authority, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Investment Protection Centre (GIPC), Ministries of Trade and Finance etc.., access the TradeNet for various operational purposes.
To date, GCNet has invested some $80m in the business with coverage across the nation on the back of up to date infrastructure to ensure data integrity, business continuity and security in the space in which it operates
The impact has been a significant increase in the domestic tax revenue collection processed through tripsTM of GHS 15.7 bn in 2017, representing a thirty two per cent (32%) increase over the same period in 2016 with the collection of GHS 12bn. This has been largely the result of the strategic geographical roll out of 67 tax offices currently using tripsTM.
The Registrar – Generals’ Department (RGD) has witnessed significant improvements in turnaround time for business registrations, revenue and online transactions through the deployment of the e-Registrar. It generated some GHS 65.5m in 2017 through the e-Registrar portal deployed by GCNet.
Among other awards, GCNet has won include Best e-Solutions Provider for the Public Sector, Best ICT Company in Ghana, Best Digital Innovative Finance Product (Letter of Commitment – LOC) and Public Sector ICT Provider of the Year. These awards shows the confidence reposed in GCNet by our stakeholders and the general public.
GCNet as a repository of government data continues to leverage on many international certification regimes including ISO 27001 for information security management and ISO 9000 for quality management to further ensure security standards and compliance.
GCNet went through a sucessful re-certifcation of ISO 27001:2013 for its GeGov operation and ISO 9001:2015 for the TradeNet Business. The company accordingly received the ISO 27001:2013 certtifcate for itsTradeNet buiness after a successful certifiation audit. The company continues to strive for international standards in all its business operation.