The Automobile Dealers Union of Ghana (ADUG), has called for the immediate resolution of all technical issues surrounding the Ghana Revenue Authority’s new Integrated Customs Management System, ICUMS.
The ICUMS, also known as UNIPASS, was rolled out on June 1, to take over the single window platform from GCNet and West Blue Consult at the country’s ports, but has faced many challenges.
In an interview with Citi Business News, General Secretary of the Automobile Dealers Union of Ghana, Clifford Ansu, said challenges with the new system which have disrupted clearing activities at the Ports has adversely affected their businesses.
“The UNIPASS and GCNet issue is something that worries everybody. When your car is stuck at the harbour, you will definitely pay the demurrage and the penalty on it will increase. But they have not thought about that. They are only just battling the issue here and there. We want them to save this situation as quickly as possible because people are complaining. Even when you go to DVLA, you will still witness this issue because customs has not been able to work on the papers for you to do the registration. It is really affecting our business,” he said.
The UNIPASS/ICUMS platform is a new port clearing system that processes documents and payments through one window.
But since its inception, the system has witnessed increased agitation from freight forwarders at the Tema and Takoradi Ports, despite assurances from authorities to resolve the challenges.
Some stakeholders have even called for a suspension of the system.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) Technical Implementation Committee, Assistant Commissioner of Customs, Emmanuel Ohene, has assured freight forwarders that the system will improve within six months.
GRA has assured importers and freight Forwarders that the challenges would be addressed by the end of this month.
Rejection of UNIPASS
Prior to its take-off, stakeholders including the Minority in Parliament and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders kicked against the roll-out of new system.
According to them, there is no need to do away with GCNet and Westblue at the ports, when they have demonstrated superior ability over the years.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, earlier this year also petitioned government to temporarily suspend the operations of UNI-PASS and allow GCNET and West Blue to operate for the remainder of the year
They said this is to rake in revenue in excess of GHS10 billion for the country, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade activities.