The newly deployed Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) has generated some GH¢490 million in its first 17 days of operation.
This compares favorably with the average monthly revenue collections of about GH¢942 million monthly from January to May this year from the country’s entry points when the old system deployed by Ghana Community Network (CGNet) was in use.
This is in spite of the teething challenges that bedeviled the system in its first weeks of operation at the port after taking over from West Blue and the Ghana Community Network (CGNet) customs management systems.
The acting commissioner-general, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, announced the figures at a media briefing in Accra to clear misconceptions opponents of the system have spread in a section of the media.
This development has brought a lot of optimism to the revenue authority boss, who declared, “Looking at this trend, it is obvious that the authority will not be losing revenue as is being highlighted by some sections of society.”
He was categorical that the state is not losing any revenue at the country’s entry points as ICUMS, deployed on June 1, 2020, is working creditably. “Looking at this trend, it is obvious that the authority will not be losing revenue as being highlighted by some sections of society.
“These numbers paint a very optimistic picture which speaks for itself. I wish to use this opportunity to assure the trading public that these are teething challenges that are associated with the introduction of every new system,” he added.
While admitting that there were teething challenges with the system, the commissioner-general said most of these initial problems were being fixed to allow for seamless operations.
He identified the failure of Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) to populate, co-loading and manifest matching the issue of Customs Bills of Entry (BoE) as some of the teething challenges.
With the issue of TIN numbers not populating at the front-end of declarant, he explained, “As we speak, TIN numbers have been populated on ICUMS for easy retrieval.”
For importers still experiencing challenges with co-loading and manifest matching, Mr. Owusu-Amoah said alternative arrangements have been made.
He also stated that ICUMS has successfully processed about 53,000 Bills of Entry (BoE) nationwide.
Some 16,000 BoE have been submitted at the Tema Port, with over 12,000 relating to pre-manifest processes.
11,000 BoE processed at Tema Port
He went on to explain that about 11,000 BoE have been successfully processed at the Tema Port.
Another 5,000 BoE are at various stages of processing at Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB).
The system, he clarified, processes an average of 1,500 BoEs daily, a figure he says “compares favorably with what was being processed by the previous system.”
Why 4,000 BoE delayed
He also told the press that “about 4,000, that is 25% of the total submissions, delayed for reasons such as unanswered queries by declarants for the necessary supporting documents, manifest mismatch and to effect corrections.
“These include MDA requirements such as permits and fees. These queries, as at a week today, were at 40% but have reduced to 25%.”
As part of measures instituted to ensure a smooth running of the system, Rev Owusu-Amoah said a toll free number (0800-900-113) has been established to address the concerns of the public.
“ICUMS,” he said, “has been deployed to process all transactions. Every aspect of the system is being utilised.”
Mr Ammishaddai said the revenue outcomes could have been relatively higher if the 25% of queries had been answered and the goods cleared. On demurrage charges, the commissioner-general said the GRA and the Ministry of Trade were engaging relevant stakeholders to see what can be done for cases related to initial challenges in the system. Rev Owusu-Amoah said the GRA would ensure that all challenges are dealt with as they arise.
“I have full confidence that all staff of the Customs Division will rise up to the challenge to make ICUMS a success story and rake in the needed revenue for national development,” he said. ICUMS is a system built by Universal Pass (UNI-PASS), specially tailored to Ghana’s situation and provides an end-to-end supply chain solution that incorporates and consolidates existing systems currently in operation.
Takoradi Gold sues Minerals Commission for unlawful assignment
Ghanaian owned licensed large-scale mining operator Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited is suing the regulator of the country’s mining industry, the Minerals Commission, for what it claims are attempts to divert two of its mining concessions to another company.
Takoradi Gold contends that the moves by the Commission to hand over a land that it has vested interest in without any reference to it is wrongful and unlawful.
According to the writ filed at the Tarkwa High Court, Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited avers that two mining concessions – CV597 and CV598 – are mining concessions originally granted by the colonial government to Paa Grant but the residue of the terms of those certificates of validity became assigned to one George Blay Kwofie by the administrators of the Estate of Paa Grant.
TGGL explained subsequently that George Blay Kwofie entered into a Joint Venture Agreement with them in respect of the said CV597 and CV 598 and the government of Ghana has since 1985 approved not only the said agreement but also the transfer of the mineral rights in those concessions to the Plaintiff. The gold-mining company contends that as a result of that approval, the government by the then Sector Minister/ Secretary executed an agreement with its predecessor-in-title Goldex Prospecting N. Limited and granted her prospecting license No. 8147/86 in respect of both CV597 and 598
Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited says having acquired vested mining right in both CV597 and CV598, they have since discharged all their responsibilities to the government and to the knowledge of the 1st Defendant (Minerals Commission) invested over $3 million in carrying out prospecting activities on the subject Certificates of Validity (CV597 and 598).
The plaintiff contends that it has complied and/or continue to comply with the relevant provisions in the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) in so far as her prospecting activities on the 2 CVs are concerned, and that they have not at all surrendered their interest in the CVs to the 1st Defendant nor has the 1st Defendant written to revoke or cancel Plaintiff’s mineral right in those CVs.
TGGL stated in the writ that it became aware of the dubious moves by the Minerals Commission to divert its concessions to another company when it came across a publication of notice by the Commission in 2019, adding that that publication has the potency of infringing on the company’s mineral rights.
“The Plaintiff states that somewhere in February 2019, she stumbled upon a Publication of Notice made by the 1st Defendant that, that had the potency of infringing on her mineral rights in the 2 CVs and she duly by a letter dated 22/02/2019 addressed to the 1st Defendant and by that letter raised her protests and or opposition to any intention of the 1st Defendant to make a grant of any mineral right or interest in CV597 and CV598 to any other body or body of persons,” the writ stated.
Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited (Plaintiff) stated that the Minerals Commission has failed to respond to the company’s queries concerning the said action.
“Plaintiff avers that when 1st Defendant failed and or refused to respond to her concerns in the letter of 22/02/2019, she caused an official search to be conducted on the CV’s 597 and 598 at the 1st Defendant’s office.
“By the Minerals Cadastre Map dated 24/05/2021 as furnished Plaintiff by the 1st Defendant, the CV’s 597 and 598 (subject of this suit) have been shown as having been proposed by the 1st Defendant to be granted to the 2nd Defendant,” the writ indicated.
TGGL is praying the High Court to annul any possible arrangement and/or agreement between the Minerals Commission (1st respondent) and Mining and Construction Limited (2nd respondent).
“An Order declaring as null and void any agreement purportedly entered into between the 1st and 2nd Defendants in respect of Plaintiff’s CV’s 957 and 958 or any portion thereof,” the writ stated.
Below are the full claims being sought by Takoradi Gold Ghana Limited against the Minerals Commission and the Mining and Construction Limited:
Declaration that Plaintiff has subsisting right to prospect for and prove for gold in INSAMANKAW —SIMPA Concessions commonly referred to as CV597 and CV598 situate and lying at Kutukrom in the Nzema East District Assembly covering an area of 14.56 Sq. kilometres and bounded by the mining lease area of the Plaintiff, the Nzema East Small Scale Mining Licence area and the Prestea Huni-Va11ey restricted area.
An Order declaring as null and void any agreement purportedly entered into between the 1st and 2nd Defendants in respect of Plaintiff’s CV’s 957 and 958 or any portion thereof.
An Order of injunction restraining the Defendants and or their agents, workmen, assigns. Privies, and successors-in-title etc. from interfering with Plaintiffs quiet enjoyment of her said licenced prospecting area being CV597 and CV 598 at Kutukrom.
iv. An Order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st Defendant from granting to, allocating to, demarcating for, releasing to and or any dealings in respect of the said CV597 and CV598 with the 2nd Defendant and or any other body or body of persons for the purpose of prospecting for gold or any other mineral right from within the said Concession.
V. Any other relief as may be just.
Bank of Ghana lowers policy rate by 100 basis points to 13.5%
The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has lowered the policy rate by a 100 basis point at 13.5 percent from 14.5 percent.
Announcing the decision at its 100th MPC press conference, Governor of the Bank of Dr. Ernest Addison on May 31 said this was based on risks to the country’s inflation outlook remaining muted in the near term.
He added that consumer inflation is expected to remain within the central bank’s target band of 8% plus or minus two percentage points in the next quarter after falling to 8.5% in April 2021 due to lower food price inflation.
“Risks to the inflation outlook remain muted in the near-term under these circumstances, the (Monetary Policy Committee) decided to lower the monetary policy rate by a hundred basis points to 13.5%,” the governor said.
The Governor pointed that his outfit will however monitor inflationary pressures on key sectors of the economy.
Ghana’s public debt hits GH¢304.6 billion
• Ghana’s public debt has risen by GH¢3 billion
• This was revealed the latest BoG summary of Economic and Financial Data
• The US$3 billion Eurobond is a contributing factor
Ghana’s public debt stock is now GH¢304.6 billion.
According to the latest Bank of Ghana (BoG) summary of Economic and Financial Data, it is a rise from GH¢3 billion in March 2021.
It is equivalent to 70.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), lower than the 76.1% registered in December 2020.
The US$3 billion Eurobond raised by the country in March 2021 also accounted for this jump in the debt.
In a JoyNews reportage sighted by GhanaWeb, GH¢13 billion was added to the country’s debt between December 2020 and March 2021, and at the end of the year 2020, Ghana’s public debt stood at GH¢291.6 billion.
The report further stated that Ghana’s external debt stood at ¢141 billion ($24.6 billion) in March 2021, as against GH¢141.8 ($24.6 billion). This is approximately 37.7% of GDP.
“Importantly, the financial sector debt went down by GH¢100 million to GH¢15.2 billion. It is equivalent to 3.5% of GDP.
“The debt could go down if levies collected to settle the financial sector debt is used to settle part of it,” the report added.
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