Managers of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at Ghana’s ports have moved to dismiss a claim that severe challenges with the process unduly delay the clearing process.
Head of the ICUMS Project Team, Gilbert Ohene, said despite isolated challenges with the process, it has not come to his attention that goods take a much as five weeks to clear.
“It certainly does not take five weeks to clear a car in Ghana. One of the benefits of the system is that it has a lot of checks and balances and once you are compliant the system [your goods will clear],” he said.
Mr Ohene was speaking to journalists on Friday, September 11, 2020, in Accra during a Q&A session that followed a media engagement organized at the behest of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The media engagement was on the theme: “Tax Compliance and the COVID-19 Pandemic – Role of the Media.”
On Monday, September 7, 2020, a widely publicized report sought to suggest that the ICUMS at the ports had gotten so bad that clearing processes have become chaotic.
“The government has been asked to intervene in the sorry situation at the Tema Ports where it now takes 5 weeks (35 freaking days), to clear a single-vehicle under the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS trade facilitation system.
“Before ICUMS took over the ports, it took just four hours for such clearance to be done using the Paperless Ports Clearance system,” the report by one Justice Walker alleged.
However, speaking directly to the allegation during the media engagement, Mr Ohene said the claims were preposterous.
“ICUMS encourages compliance. What that means is that once you are able to provide the system with information and you provide the necessary documentation that is required to clear any commodity, you should not have any challenge.
“I have to, however, admit that we had some challenges [initially]. Some of the challenges had to do with the understanding of the new process; some had to do with some minor system glitches and the like, but it certainly does not take five weeks to clear a car in Ghana,” Mr Ohene stressed.
Mr Ohene later revealed to GhanaWeb in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the media engagement that efforts to get some stakeholders to present their key challenges to fashion out a solution have proven futile.
He mentioned the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders as among the institutions refusing to co-operate with managers of ICUMS on the way forward.
On June 1, 2020, ICUMS took over from West Blue and GCNet, in the management of all transactions related to the import and export of goods at all the ports in the country.
The new system has since been hit with allegations of poor service delivery, lower revenue mobilization, among other criticisms. The managers of the system, Ghana Link, have mounted a strong defence for each allegation.
Source: Ghana Web