Aug 25, 2021

The President of the Association of Customs House Agents, Ghana, (ACHAG) Mr. Yaw Kyei, has called for risk management regimes at the ports of Ghana to be respected for improved trade facilitation.

Mr. Kyei who was speaking on the Eye on Port program, complained about national security operatives and some other institutions in the port clearance chain, accusing them of unduly delaying cargo clearance by impounding cargoes for what he termed “unjustifiable causes.”

“There could be some instances where they might have had some intelligence information that we may not be privy to. But in most cases, it may out of sentiment or subjective reasons,” he bemoaned.

Mr. Kyei said, “I think customs have to look at again. Because when something wrong has been done or goods are slated for examination in the red channel, we do not have any problem with it. We can subject ourselves to physical examination which takes more time. But if your own data has said go green, allow it to go, that’s our argument.”

He said these unwarranted interruptions by some operators within the clearance chain impede cargo clearance and contribute to port congestion.

The President of ACHAG warned that, if immediate steps are not taken to address this matter, not only will the trading public suffer unduly, but it will erode the gains made in terms of investments in port efficiency and trade facilitation in Ghana.

Mr. Yaw Kyei, who is the CEO of Integral Freight Services, also lamented some bottlenecks created by the operations of banks, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority and other institutions in the clearance chain.

“If you go to DVLA, they are asking for a document well stamped before they can register for you. It is not only DVLA but even the banks. They ask for documents with customs stamp on it,” he revealed.

The seasoned freight forwarder also urged institutions working at the port to ensure that officers deployed on various assignments in the clearance chain, do not indulge in undisciplined acts that will delay clearance and burden importers.

Speaking on same program, a Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Suspense Regimes at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. Emmanuel Ohene, revealed that the second phase of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) will see many new modules introduced which includes a performance marker to ensure that targets set for all operators in the clearance system are met.

“The ICUMS is introducing what we call the performance management module which would be having KPIs and monitor activities of officers everywhere nationwide. Officers who for no valid reason create delay in assigned responsibilities will be sanctioned,” he disclosed.

Mr. Ohene, who is also the Chairman of the ICUMS Implementation Committee assured that the ICUMS team has been working assiduously to ensure that the activities of all such institutions within the clearance chain as earlier mentioned by the President of ACHAG are further streamlined for improved efficiency.

About inspections being conducted on goods slated for green channel, he admitted to these complaints.

He explained that “sometimes national security stakeholders may have some information we are not privy to.”

The Deputy Commissioner in charge of Suspense Regimes at Customs assured the trading public that issues of undue delays by some institutions in the clearance chain will be taken up with higher authority for immediate resolution.