The UNIPASS clearance system which took off fully on Monday, June 1, 2020, after a challenging pilot, still had some members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) in the country, complaining about the existing difficulties with the system.
An Executive Member of the Takoradi District of GIFF, Ato Bentsil, in an interview with Citi Business News said the automatic allocation of customs officers to clearing agents for processing, coupled with difficulties in registering vehicles after clearance at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, causes undue delays.
“There are delays in trying to complete one document so there is a problem. When you enter your data through the ICUMS, you will be waiting for the necessary platforms for payments, but immediately it has to get to the officer you have to submit to for examination, you will need to go there physically which used to be electronic,” he told Western Regional Correspondent, Akwesi Annim.
Also at the Tema Port, some freight forwarders complained about the UNIPASS system, which has replaced the systems operated by West Blue Consulting and GCNet.
The Freight Forwarders told Tema correspondent, Elvis Washington, that there are still delays with the system that may push them to pay more demurrage.
The agents, who had gathered at the Long Room of the Tema Port, say they are confused as to where to begin or continue the clearing process.
But the Public Relations Manager of Ghana Link, operators of UNIPASS, Norvan Acquah-Hayford, in response to Citi Business News, said a technical team is on standby to address the concerns of freight forwarders.
“It is because of these challenges that we have put together the rapid response team, the call center and also stationed men at the Long Room at the Golden Jubilee and MPS terminals as well as the transit areas. Challenges will come in any process, but the point is how you respond to them as quick as you can,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the Chief Revenue Officer in charge of Customs Technical Services, Theresa Potakey, says a team of Customs officials from her department are also on standby to manually vet declarations on duties that have already been paid.
“With payments that were mandatory but were not paid, the freight forwarders would definitely have to pay them so we have liaised with the banks to ensure that no revenue is lost at this moment and the transition is smooth. That is why our office is here to ensure that this is done as smoothly and as effortlessly as possible. We are going to ensure that based on our experience, we will be able to fish out those documents that were brought in,” she explained.