Freight Forwarders ‘cry’ out to Akufo-Addo to intervene in standstill at country’s ports

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The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) is crying out to President Akufo-Addo to as a matter of urgency intervene in the impasse at the country’s ports.

According to the freight forwarders, the President should treat with seriousness their request for the redefinition of the scope of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) clearance platform.

They argued that after the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) permanently shut down GCNET and replaced it with ICUMS, there have been delays in clearing their goods causing traders to incur more charges on rent and demurrages.

Addressing the media, the President of GIFF, Edward Akrong said “I solemnly and soberly plead, this is an SOS call to the President of the country. If he could just hear us; this is a ‘Save our Souls’ call and it is a very dire situation, it is not a joke. So we are pleading humbly.”

Explaining further, he said a few hours after the deployment of ICUMS, there was an undue delay with processing declarations thereslowing down the processes.

According to him, the situation was non-existent under the previous GCNET and West Blue system.

“Though solutions have been attempted, this has become a recurring challenge of the ICUMS since its inception leading to a manual solution of importer TIN recapture. It must be noted that this cannot be a solution for a digitised system…this is the basis for which one begins a declaration but unfortunately, it has been fraught with challenges to this day.”

Another challenge raised GIFF was the benchmark for delivery time. They argued that “ICUMS per the Trade Facilitation Agreement with Ghana Link had no Service Legal Agreement (SLA) indicating process delivery times with which every other stakeholder can plan. Thus declarations can get locked up in the system for weeks with no benchmark for redress.”

Due to these and many other challenges, they have now reverted to the use of manual processing stressing that “ICUMS, as we speak, has not been fully integrated with other players in the chain, ie. Terminals, Shipping Lines, Ground Handlers, and some Courier stations. This has led to the re-emergence of manual processes of release to our chagrin.”

“This is an anomaly because releases can intentionally or unintentionally be done for whatever effect. For a superior system of this sort, confidentiality is key…There seems to be a huge problem with the computation of figures in ICUMS, and particular interest is that of vehicle declarations. We also have noticed a trend of Customs Validated Duty Declaration Documents with figures which defy reason,” Mr Akrong added.

 

The post Freight Forwarders ‘cry’ out to Akufo-Addo to intervene in standstill at country’s ports appeared first on Report Ghana.

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