Ghana Link Network Services Ltd. (GLNS) and Customs-Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA operators of the Integrated Customs Management Systems ICUMS, engaged stakeholders in Customs clearing at Tema as part of its quarterly stakeholder engagements.
The meeting was focused on planning for the impending peak-season so as to meet the expectation of all, especially the import and export community – including the clearing agents’ community.
In attendance was the ICUMS implementation team made up of management staff from Ghana Link, Customs-Division of GRA, terminals handlers, shipping lines, MDAs and Freight Forwarding Community among others; and they were taken through recent happenings, providing updates on features and functionalities of the ICUMS system, especially the Bill of Entry ‘BEO’ processing platform and all other processes on the ICUMS.
This meeting was the second stakeholders’ meeting since deployment of the ICUMS in Tema, even though the team had met with various groupings separately to discuss their challenges in implementation of the system providing solution.
Participants, who were over 80, were sensitised again on the need to attach the right trade documents electronically during the application for permits and exemptions from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), which will be added to their Bill of Entry applications to the Customs Technical Services Bureau, CTSB. This is because of the many complaints received from clearing agents and other stakeholders with regard to delays at the CTSB on the processing of BEOs.
Chairman of the meeting, Assistant Commissioner of IT for the Customs Division of GRA, Elizabeth Titi Opare, pointed out that adhering to laid-down regulations and Customs procedures in processing BEOs and clearing goods at the ports is important, as the new system – the ICUMS – is beneficial to both importers and declarants; saving time and costs during the clearance process, and thereby enhancing trade facilitation.
Again, the freight forwarding community was informed that the issue of interest charge has been resolved and is working just fine, but remains system-defined.
With regard to inadequate Customs officials operating in some terminals, management of GRA are said to be working out a solution to speed up work and turnaround time, aimed at helping to facilitate trade at Tema Port.
This engagement comes at a time when the implementation team has begun retraining stakeholders, which commenced from northern Ghana, to expose stakeholders and Customs officials to updates and new developments in the ICUMS.
Already, Customs officers and clearing agents at Tatale, Yendi, Bunkprugu, Wonjuga – all in the Northern and North East Regions; Bolga, Paga, Kulungugu and Pulimakom in the Savanah and Upper East Regions have been trained.