Customs officials at the Elubo land border – one of Ghana’s six land borders – have denied claims that they are facing challenges using the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) in processing and releasing cargo vehicles into the country.
This follows media reports and a video in circulation in which dozens of vehicles are seen parked behind the Elubo border and unable to be processed for entry into Ghana due to some alleged challenges encountered by the newly-deployed ICUMS at the land borders.
Mr Isaac Adongo, a Member of Parliament’s Trade and Finance Committees, in a media interaction, cited the video as a reference to demonstrate how bad the new system was.
However, a Customs Long Room official at Elubo in an interview said the vehicles parked behind the border had nothing to do with the use of the ICUMS system at the border.
“It is not unusual to see cars parked behind the border, it happens occasionally. The cars park on the no-man’s land between Ivory Coast and Ghana a lot of the time for many reasons. These vehicles are allowed to park behind the border awaiting documentation. It has nothing to do with the ICUMS,” he said.
The Custom official further asserted that “the processing of documents for early release of vehicles into the country known as compliance was now being done at the headquarters of the Customs Division due to GCNET system not working again, as many of these guys processed their BOEs in that system. This means we, at the border, cannot process those old BOEs unless the head office, hence the delay.”
He added that the only challenge they faced was the approval of their documents from the headquarters.
“Previously, the approval and compliance were done by us at the Long Room here and that fastens the job but now that the old system is off, the compliance has to be done at the headquarters, hence the delay in processing and releasing the vehicles. But with ICUMS, everything is going on well and we have passed exports and imports, plus the transits this week”, he noted.
On transit declarations, customs officials at the Elubo border said they have passed two of that so far, since last week. According to him, the clearing agents started the process last week Friday and this week, they were cleared on Monday.
“On Thursday, two more that came in the declarations are to be passed today Friday, 12 June 2020. The registrations and the BOEs were processed through the ICUMS and it was successful but the agents will pass the declarations today”.
“It is important to note that the two declarations that were passed in total, they are 19 cargo vehicles and all of them have been dispatched,” the customs official said.
Some drivers who also spoke gave various reason for parking there, which they said had nothing to do with the ICUMS.
One indicated that they were waiting for their agents from the Ivorian side to complete the declaration processes to enable them to enter Abidjan as they have completed their processes from the Ghanaian side while another said the agent was waiting to receive funds from the importer to pay for the duties required, which will then enable customs to allow them into Ghana.
ICUMS, last week, in the first four days, registered some 1,452 transactions at the land frontiers. Out of this, 408 were direct ‘home use’ imports, 900 Temporary Vehicle Imports, 34 Warehouse transactions, 20 Transit and 9 Free Zones transactions.
Every transaction done in ICUMS including TVI is issued with their required certificate. The TVI certificate is generated and given to the driver, which is verifiable.