Customs officials at the Elubo land border – one of Ghana’s six land borders – have denied claims of challenges faced in the use of Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) in processing and releasing cargo vehicles into the country.
This follows media reports and a video in circulation in which dozens of vehicles are seen parked behind the Elubo border – and are unable to be processed for entry into Ghana due to some challenges encountered by the newly deployed ICUMS at the land borders.
Mr. Isaac Adongo, a member of parliament’s Trade and Finance Committees, in a media interaction cited the video as reference, stating that it affirms defects in the new system.
However, a Customs Long Room official at Elubo asserted in an interview that the vehicles parked behind the border had nothing to do with using ICUMS at the border.
“It is not unusual to see cars parked behind the border, it happens occasionally. The cars park on the no-man’s land between Ivory Coast and Ghana a lot of time for many reasons. These vehicles are allowed to park behind the border awaiting documentation. It has nothing to do with the ICUMS,” he said.
The Custom official further asserted: “Processing documents for early release of vehicles into the country, known as Compliance, is now being done at the headquarters of Customs Division due to the GCNET system not working again, as many of these guys processed their BOEs in that system. This means we at the border cannot process those old BOEs unless head office approves, hence the delay”.
He added that the only challenge they face is the approval of their documents from headquarters. “Previously, the approval and compliance was done by us at the Long room here, and that hastens the job; but now that the old system is off, the compliance has to be done at headquarters – hence the delay in processing and releasing the vehicles. But with ICUMS everything is going on well, and we have passed export and imports, plus the transits, this week,” he noted.
On transit declarations, Customs officials at the Elubo border said they have passed two of those so far since last week. According to him, the clearing agents started the process last week Friday, and they were cleared on Monday this week.
On Thursday, two more declarations came in and are to be passed today Friday, June 12, 2020. The registrations and BOEs were processed through the ICUMS and were successful, but the agents will pass the declarations today.
“It is important to note that the two declarations that were passed in total comprise 19 cargo vehicles, and all of them have been dispatched,” the Customs official said.
Some drivers who also spoke gave various reason for their parking there, which had nothing to do with the ICUMS. One indicated that they were waiting for their agents from the Ivorian side to complete declarations processes to enable them enter Abidjan, as they had completed their processes from the Ghanaian side; while another said the agent was waiting to receive funds from the importer to pay the duties required, which would then enable Customs to allow them into Ghana.
ICUMS last week in the first four days registered some 1,452 transactions at the land frontiers. Out of these 408 were direct imports into home use; 900 Temporary Vehicle Imports, 34 Warehouse, 20 Transit and 9 Free Zones.
Every transaction done in ICUMS, including TVI, is issued with its required Certificate. For the avoidance of doubt, a verifiable TVI Certificate is generated and given to the driver.