The new Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), which is spearheaded by the UNIPASS Cupia, went live yesterday, June 1, 2020 across Ghana’s ports.
This follows the successful piloting of the new UNIPASS system at some of the ports few months ago.
However, when the clearing agents and freight forwarders went to the Tema port and Kotoka international airport on Monday to transact their usual business, this time, using the UNIPASS system, they were faced with some technical difficulties. This disrupted the completion of necessary processes to clear goods.
The challenges among several others included inability of the ICUMS system to recognise consignees’ Tax Identification Numbers.
The pockets of challenges infuriated the importers and freight forwarders who gathered in their numbers, without recourse to the social distancing protocols, to demand for answers.
Later in the day, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanten, together with his Deputy, Carlos Ahenkora visited the Tema port to calm tempers down and assure the agitated importers of resolving the challenges as soon as possible.
The Commissioner of Customs of the Ghana Revenue Authority was part of the Minister’s delegation.
Speaking on the ‘Business Live’ show later in the day on the Joy News Channel, the Public Relations Officer of Ghana Link Network, the technical brains behind the new ICUMS system, Norvan Acquah Hayford, said the implementation went on well despite the challenges.
He also took the opportunity to apologise to the clearing agents and freight forwarders for the difficulties they faced with the new system.
Anticipating possible challenges with the new system, he said, the importers had earlier been advised to use the GCNet system to clear their goods if they were sure of doing so before the June 1.
Again, he said “they were told that if you think you could not complete the processes before the first of June, what you have to do.was to come and use the new system, which is ICUMS. Which was used at the time, because we had simulation exercises and it has been very successful”.
But all the advise appeared to have been ignored, hence the pressure at the port yesterday, he said.
Aside from this, he mentioned that they stationed rapid response teams, made up technical experts, at vantage points at the ports to assist the importers to go through the system successfully.
By Salifu B.B. Moro