The increasing levels of e-commerce and cross border trade among countries highlights the crucial need for data-driven decision making in border management, Mrs Aba Lokko, Communications Manager of GCNet, has said.

Mrs Lokko shared this thought on big data and border management after her participation in the 2017 World Customs Organisation (WCO) IT Conference and Exhibition held in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The conference was on the theme: “The Power of Data – Advancing Border Management”.

She said it was as a result of the importance of data in trade that GCNet was currently facilitating a data exchange programme between the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Customs Division of the Ivorian Revenue Authority to enhance cross border trade in the West African sub region.

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When completed, she said, the exchange programme would speed up actions on cross border trade among the two countries in the wake of increasing volumes recorded in the recent past through the Ghana Customs Management Systems (GCMS) deployed by GCNet since 2002.

She further explained that as a repository of government data, GCNet continues to play a major role in Ghana’s digital economy through its deployment of e-solutions and expressed the believe that generating value from data, holds the key to addressing critical challenges against trade facilitation and revenue generation.

Mrs Lokko said big data has unleashed numerous opportunities to enable Customs organisations and Governments to continuously leverage on data analytics applications to institute reform initiatives to enhance trade as well as the ease of doing business.

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On the conference, she said, participants were convinced that the ability to exchange and monitor data flows throughout the trade supply chain effectively will  ensure that Government’s objectives of  safety, security and revenue collection were met while customer demands were also fulfilled.

The conference attracted over 500 delegates from 80 countries. Participants included senior customs officials, experts, policy makers, exhibitors, trade facilitation technical and government functionaries among others. They deliberated on the critical role of data in facilitating efficient border management in customs operations.

The Secretary General of WCO, Mr. Kunio Mikunya highlighted the importance of transforming big data generated by customs operations into quality data to ensure smarter and better decision making and risk management.

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He said some Custom administrations had already embarked on huge data initiatives and stressed WCO’s commitment to continue providing e-standards and the guidelines to assist members to bring innovation into their operations.

GNA