OPERATIONS AT the Tema Port on Monday were confronted with several challenges, following the implementation of the much anticipated Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) formerly known as UNIPASS.
There were several complaints of system failure—inability for freight forwarders to make declarations among others.
A help desk created by the Customs Division of the GRA at the long-room to assist agitating freight forwarders could not calm down frustrated agents.
The agitation compelled the Trade and Industry Minister, Alan K. Kyeremanteng, together with his Deputies, the Commissioner General of the GRA as well as the Commissioner of Customs to meet with officials of ICUMS and Custom heads at the Tema Port on the matter.
The presence of the sector minister and his delegation did not deter the aggrieved freight forwarders from venting their spleen.
Government is said to lose some millions of Cedis following the inability of freight forwarders to pay for their duties and make other declarations.
GCNET, which were in charge of clearance operations at the country’s ports, suspended its operations on Sunday, May 31, 2020 following a government directive.
A visit to the Tema Port by DAILY GUIDE saw a rather worrying picture depicting frustration and agitation on the part of freight forwarders there.
Most banking halls were empty, due to the inability of freight forwarders to make declaration CCVR or access the new platform due to the revocation of their password.
Those who had already paid duties for their goods could not clear them due to the fact that they could not use the GCNET documentation to clear them, hence the need for them to redo a new documentation through the ICUMS platform.
This saw some flaring of tempers at the Customs’ long-room due to concern over the potential payment of demurrage and rent charges which would be incurred by freight forwarders over their inability to clear their goods on time.
Speaking with DAILY GUIDE, some clearing agents accused their mother body, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), of failing to act in their interest.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Customs, Col Rtd Kwadjo Damoah, has assured freight forwarders and stakeholders at the Tema Port of a speedy resolution to challenges in operations of the ICUMS, which took effect on Monday, June 1.
The commissioner gave the assurance after a closed door meeting with the Trade Minister and the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
Despite acknowledging some teething problems facing the ICUMS system, Col Rtd. Damoah mentioned that they anticipated most of the issues at hand, hence the setting up of offices to address them.
Meanwhile, importers and exporters have served notice to demonstrate in the coming days if the situation is not addressed.
From Vincent Kubi, Tema