In the first quarter of 2022, Ghana Link Services Limited, operators of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) will roll out the second phase of the clearing system.
Mr Raymond Amaglo, Director of Operations at Ghana Link disclosing this to the media said the system was fully developed now and was currently being run on a pilot basis with some of the terminal operators, importers, and exporters.
Mr Amaglo gave the assurance that once the piloting was done, they would roll out the second phase indicating that the goal of phase two was to ensure that the port clearance system would be favourably comparable with what pertains in the advanced world.
The ICUMS also known as (UNIPASS), he noted was a system already being used in some advanced countries, adding that the goal of Ghana Link was, therefore, to match what has been achieved in the advanced places.
He added that when deployed, it would ensure that importers who were compliant would have fast processing of their declarations, fast-track treatment of their cargo, and minimal cargo inspection.
“If there is the need for physical inspection the importer will decide where he or she wants it done,” he said, adding that to enjoy such benefits, compliant traders would have to go through a vigorous application process from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) before being admitted.
The Ghana Link Director of Operations indicated that as part of phase two of ICUMS, his outfit had engaged stakeholders to develop an e-auction module, with the purpose of making the auction process by Customs transparent.
Mr Amaglo added that with that the public would be allowed to bid online for goods that have been approved by the Commissioner-General to be auctioned after those goods had gone through classification and valuation to obtain a floor price.
The winner of the bid, he said, would be notified by the system for him or her to make a Bill of Entry (BOE) declaration, make payment, and subsequently take ownership of the cargo.
“Along the chain, if the owner of the cargo decides that he is now ready to come and pay the necessary duties, he is allowed to do that and claim, so the expectation is that there will be a lot of transparency and compliance when the e-auction modules are deployed,” he added.
Touching on the success of the implementation of the first phase of ICUMS, he explained that six modules had been deployed which included the clearance management module, cargo management module, and risk management module.
The others are single window, portal management module, and the collection module which manages all the bill creation and bill payment, bond, and insurance processes on ICUMS.
He said additionally, an e-tracking system had also been developed for all customs suspense regimes like transit and warehousing goods.
Mr Amaglo added that “at every step of the way, the system provides a feedback of where the cargo is, in terms of its movement, so there is proper monitoring of such cargo to ensure that they were not diverted.”