The newly integrated customs management systems deployed by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and its technical partners, Ghana Link Network Services Limited, has been switched on at the Takoradi port.
The system went live on April 1, 2020 after a pilot that allowed the necessary arrangements and a directive was issued by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah.
He has also ordered all shipping lines to use the new system for manifest submission to start the process for valuation and billings to the shipper.
The directive, dated March 31, 2020 to take effect on April 1, read: “All shipping lines/agents are to submit manifest in ICUMS for vessels arriving at the Takoradi Port. All Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) acquired for bill of entry creation targeting manifests and bill of laden for vessels arriving later than 1st April, 2020 shall be re-processed in ICUMS.”
For the suspense regimes, the directive instructs that for smooth transition, customs officers, working with declarants, Free Zones and bonded warehouse operators, must take inventory of outstanding stocks in the GCNet and West Blue systems for onward migration onto the new system.
All subsequent ex-warehousing processes and duty-free transactions shall take place in the ICUMS, it added.
The decision of the GRA to replace the existing customs management systems with the ICUMS has been a subject of prolonged debate.
Critics of the new system, previously known as UNIPASS, have cited the presumed disruptions that the new system will bring to the shipping community, especially at a time that the ports’ stakeholders were getting used to the current system run by West Blue Consulting and GCNet, coupled with the impressive gains of the paperless port reforms.
But according to the Customs Division of the GRA, the new system is “the best end-to-end customs management system available.”
“We want to assure all stakeholders that we sink or swim together, and therefore, in the national interest, whatever we have to do to ensure that we get the best qualitative, real value for money in any service provision, we will do it,” Commissioner of Customs Col. Kwadwo Damoah said at a media workshop on the new system.