The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is set to use a newly Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the Tema Port.
In a statement dated April 27, 2020, the authority says the deployment takes effect from today, Tuesday, April 28, 2020.
It says effective today, all transactions in respect of import and export manifest can be processed through either ICUMS or the Ghana Customs Management System for the Port of Tema as well as all entry points.
An official statement issued by the GRA, and signed by its acting Commissioner-General, Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, however, noted that all existing transactions that began processing prior to May 31, 2020, but have not been completed in the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) shall be reprocessed through the new Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).
This affects transactions that have been paid before or after duty, the statement stated.
“All transactions in respect of import/export manifest can be processed either Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) or Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) for the Tema Port as well as all other entry points. For the avoidance of doubt, with effect from 1st June 2020, all new transactions without exception in respect of import and export shall only be processed through the ICUMS,” the statement added.
The UNIPASS/ICUMS system
The UNIPASS/ICUMS is a new port clearing system that processes documents and payments through one window: a departure from the previous system where valuation and classification and risk management and payment were handled by different entities.
CUPIA Korea, which is assisting the Customs Division to implement the UNIPASS system, has described it as an enhanced single window system for trade facilitation.
The company which is expected to address key challenges at the ports also replaces the existing service providers, the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), which has operated for nearly 17 years, and West Blue Consulting.
Rejection of UNI-PASS
Following the introduction of the system, there has been strong opposition from various stakeholders within the logistics space and other civil society organisations on the need to stick with the existing single window in order not to severely disrupt trade and revenue flows.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, earlier this month petitioned government to temporarily suspend the operations of UNI-PASS and allow GCNET and West Blue to operate for the remainder of the year to rake in revenue in excess of GHS10 billion for the country considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade activities.
Also, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders questioned the efficacy of system hours to the officially outdooring of the system at the country’s ports.
Critics of the UNIPASS have also cited the presumed distortions that the new system will bring to the shipping community.