An Assistant Commissioner of Customs in charge of the Accra Sector Command and Chairman of the Implementation Team of ICUMS, Emmanuel Ohene, has revealed that the second phase of the implementation of the Integrated Customs Management system will not only plug in some of the few gaps identified but will also introduce significant innovations for the trading community of Ghana.
Speaking on Eye on Port, the Assistant Commissioner in Charge of the Accra Collection of Customs revealed that one of the key things ICUMS seeks to achieve is to decouple the release of shipping lines from customs payment. “We are looking at the scenario where transactions with customs will not be tied to the shipping lines so that we do not have the shipping line saying if you have not finished with customs, we can’t release you. That’s what we are looking at doing. There’s a team currently working on that,” he explained.
He added that certain inconveniences associated with state warehouse rent would be resolved to the relief of the trading public. “The system is set up that the agents found it inconveniencing having to commute to have it manually calculated for them before they go back to pay the rent. The process is quite uncomfortable, admittedly. My technical partners have updated me on the progress made to fine-tune that system. It is a matter that is receiving utmost priority from the ICUMS team. The issue of the state warehouse rent is one of the naughty things ICUMS is hoping to resolve by end of the year,” he assured.
He again indicated that customs would do well to engage its technical partners to improve the existing duty calculator to be more user-friendly to the general public. He added, the second phase of ICUMS would introduce an e-wallet regime that would look to credit importers who are eligible for refund on overpaid duties in an electronic account which they can use for further transactions with customs, in order to solve the problem of the daunting process of obtaining refunds in cash.
The Chairman of the Implementation Team of ICUMS also indicated that the Free zones industry is enjoying a seamless integration with the Integrated Customs Management System and the implementers of the system are even working towards further automation interventions. “Just two weeks ago we had a fruitful meeting with the management of the Free Zones aimed at exploring areas where we can improve on our services including automating most of the documents that one needs for the processing of goods in the free zones enclaves,” he disclosed.
He said at the airports, ICUMS will introduce one of its modules known as the Advanced Passenger Information System which would profile information on passengers arriving in the country to determine their risk levels. “This would help sister agencies of Customs such as the Immigration and National Security and the likes to know how to treat such passengers. It would also position customs on how to treat such persons’ baggage.”