The Deputy Commissioner in Charge of Suspense Regimes at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Emmanuel Ohene, has intimated that the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) being deployed as a trade facilitation tool at the ports of Ghana has added to the paperless system introduced at the ports in 2017, making clearance processes more seamless.
“In the ICUMS, you can now make payments electronically, you can obtain advise for examination and bills from the shipping lines all without recourse to submitting paper,” Mr. Ohene listed some benefits of the ICUMS.
Speaking on Eye on Port, Emmanuel Ohene who is also the Chairman of the ICUMS Implementation Committee, described the ICUMS as work in progress that is being fashioned to be a great national asset, that would lead to the realization of the vision of Ghana’s ports becoming paperless at its optimum level.
“The final intention is to ensure that we can all function in a synergy to ensure we can have fast clearance. Shipping lines are hooked to us, same as the banks and the freight forwarders. All the players in this industry are interwoven on this ICUMS,” he added.
He said not only has cargo clearance at the ports been made more convenient and faster, but government has also been able to mobilize revenue at a better rate than the previous vendors did, in spite of the fact that ICUMS was rolled out during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Joining in the conversation, the President of the Association of Customs House Agents, Ghana, Yaw Kyei, attested to the efficacy of the ICUMS system, revealing that, in some cases the ambitious target of 4 hours’ clearance time, is realized at Ghana’s ports.
The President of ACHAG also praised efforts made by other stakeholders like shipping lines and terminal operators to augment efficiency in the clearance chain.
“You can sit in your house and effect payment of duties; you can release your goods from the shipping lines as well via mobile money. At the comfort of your home, you can also effect payment to MPS.”
He also touted the strides Ghana has made with respect to automation at the ports, citing historical accounts of arduous port processes which were saddled with manipulation by clearing agents.
Mr. Kyei said “In terms of speed and ease of doing business, the ICUMS system is definitely one of the best we have had so far. We hope to get a system even better than what we have now, moving forward.”