The Technical Implementation Committee of the newly deployed single window system, Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), has projected that it will commence 48-hour end-to-end clearance processes at the port effectively in the next six months.
This is to ensure that ICUMS-related challenges are resolved and set goals are achieved.
“From our projections, we are anticipating that within the next six months ICUMS end-to-end clearance will take 48 hours,” Emmanuel Ohene, Assistant Commissioner of Customs, who is Sector Commander of Accra and head of the team, told the B&FT.
“The intention is to ensure that we can address ICUMS’ challenge in a very holistic manner and set ourselves realisable goals and targets to enable us get into the beginning of a new year with certainty and assurance that, within 48 hours, this is what is being done. If we are able to continue in a better manner, we would even be desirous to clear before the 48 hours and before the 6 months.”
He also explained that previous systems were not able to conduct end-to-end clearance for the three segments which include pre-arrival, clearance and post-clearance, but ICUMS will do otherwise.
“They have Several Levels of Activities (SLA) in the post-ICUMS wherein the pre-arrival, clearance and post-clearance – all of these spheres of deployment or spheres of activities, had instances where to date clearance could not be conducted from end-to-end for these three different segments in 48 hours”.
One of the major challenges, he disclosed, was user-familiarity; however, training is still ongoing and being run in collaboration with freight forwarder associations.
“With the deployment of every new system there is certainly an anticipated challenge we had anticipated and which we are experiencing; it has to do with user familiarity. We have realised that training after the classroom or training after a session does not necessarily transform into the real hands-on experience; so with the deployment, admittedly, people have been used to operating in the previous systems in a particular manner and format to clear their goods.”
With the new system, the fact that most members of the public or the declarants are not familiar with the new processes has created some form of discomfort, because they do not understand the processes through no fault of theirs. It has been an exercise wherein we have had to hold people up so that they can navigate through the system. We have a team who are all over helping to ensure that the challenge to user-familiarity is addressed,” Mr. Ohene stated.
He said that ICUMS has clear isolation of data and data privacy which is strictly enforced, adding that there is a clear control of work.