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 of customs clearing in 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 import and export community including the clearing agent’s community.
In attendance was the ICUMS implementation team made up of management Staff of Ghana Link, Customs-Division of GRA, terminals handlers, shipping lines, MDA’s and Freight Forwarding Community among others and they were taken through recent happenings, providing updates on features and functionalities of the ICUMS system especially on the Bill of Entry BEO processing platform and all other process on the ICUMS.
This meeting was the second stakeholders meeting since the deployment of the ICUMS in Tema, even though the team had met with virous groupings separately to discuss their challenges in the 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, Department 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 regards to delays at the CTSB on the processing of BEO’s.
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 the processing of BEO’s and clearing goods at the ports was important as the new system the ICUMS was beneficial to both importers and declarants, saving time and costs during the clearance process, thereby enhancing trade facilitation.
Customs officials also used the platform to clarify some procedures to stakeholders including the reason behind clearing agents being asked to see the chemist as part of the import clearance process.
Again, the freight forwarding community was informed that, the issue of interest charge has been resolved and was working just fine but remains system defined.
With regards 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 the Tema port.
This engagement comes at a time that the implementation team has also begun retraining of 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 also in the Savanah and Upper East regions have been trained.