GC-Net Is The Technical Backbone Of Customs Processes – Carl Sackey

Carl Sackey

The General Manager in charge of Technical Administration of Ghana Community Network Services, (GCNet) Carl Sackey, has indicated that his outfit which is an IT service provider in the port community is going to introduce a more sophisticated tracking device on transit cargoes as an improvement on the existing one.

“We arestill evaluating other devices as well. We are trying them on a few vehicles with different cablesover a period of time,before we take the investment decision,” he revealed.

He said this is to improve the securing of revenue for the government away from unscrupulous individuals or syndicates who have resorted to manipulating the existing system to divert cargoes destined for the transit market due to some flaws with the existing tracking devices.

Carl Sackey, who was speaking on Eye on Port’s interactive platform that allows stakeholders in the port industry to uncover their various activities and address associated challenges live on national television, expressed his support for containerized cargo to be used for transit as it better accommodates tracking devices, and asked for governmental support to enforce interstate transit laws.

“There are particular types of cargo that are not supposed to go on flat bed. We are not enforcing the law,” he lamented.

He said the Ghana Community Network Services is in charge of creating the Customs Management systems, to generate government revenue from taxes on imports, as well as create a seamless online platform for all licensed regulatory agencies who participate in the port space, and facilitate trade.

According to Carl Sackey, the GCNet platform is accessed by the importer or the customs broker at the beginning through to the end of the import clearance process, and this is totally electronic and transparent.

“It is actually very transparent. When the broker is preparing a declaration, he is required to put the importer’s phone number there, so that he or she is updated by text of any stage in the clearance process. You get to see applicable taxes based on the HS code and the consignment you bringing in,” he explained.

Addressing the concerns of importers on being cheated by their freight forwarders, Carl Sackey revealed that there is a system that allows duties to be checked, through text messaging on all networks, using the short cod 1477 as well as a mobile app that can track every stage of the consignment’s clearance. He advised importers to demand their declaration numbers from their clearing agents in order to access this.

“In Ghana, the short code is 1477 and it’s across all networks. You put in your bill of lading number, or if it’s a car, your chassis numberand you can get your duties payable. Ask your agent to tell you your declaration number,” he urged importers. 

He also revealed that, a new manifest regime is to be introduced soon, where every detail of each consignment would be provided in the manifest of the shipping lines in order to improve risk management at the ports of Ghana.

According to the GC-Net General Manager, the development addresses the complexities associated with some revenue leakages, in customs management.

GC-Net is a public-private partnership, where Government is entitled to 35% of the company’s revenue, and according to Carl Sackey, 20% shares goes to the Ministry of Finance through the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, 10% goes to the Ghana Shippers Authority and 5% goes to the GCB Bank as due dividend.

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