COVID-19 drugs locked up at port over ICUMS challenges – Pharmaceutical Manufacturers


Lucia Addae, Executive Secretary of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Ghana, has noted that some coronavirus drugs and other vaccines have been locked up at the ports due to the challenges with the implementation of the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).

Some of the drugs locked up, she said, included the Hydroxychloroquine.

All transactions related to the import and export of goods at the various ports have since June 2 been conducted through the one-stop service for all customs clearance procedures, dubbed ICUMS.

This follows the successful simulation and piloting of ICUMS at Tema Port, the final port to be hooked onto the system. With the exception of Tema Port, ICUMS has been operating at all entry points across Ghana for over a month now.

ICUMS is a system built by Universal Pass (UNI-PASS), specially tailored to Ghana’s situation and provides an end-to-end supply chain solution that incorporates and consolidates existing systems currently in operation.

Ghana Link Services Limited, which has a 10-year contract with the Government of Ghana as a technical partner, contracted CUPIA of Korea to deploy its electronic customs management system, called Universal Pass (UNI-PASS) which is now known as the Integrated Customs Management System ICUMS, for Ghana’s trade facilitation.

But some stakeholders including the pharmaceutical manufacturers have said the system is in effective, a situation that is badly affecting their operations.

Speaking on the Sunrise Show on 3 92.7Fm hosted by Alfred Ocansey on Wednesday June 17,  Lucia Addae said : “There are even Covid-related medicines like Hydroxychloroquine being stacked at the port, there are vaccines, there are other medications  stacked at the port because of the new system.”

She further stated that the implementation of the ICUMS system was poorly done and should be reconsidered.

“We had an old system that was working, the GCNet. it was efficient, you could upload , preload documents before your consignments get in. You will know the values that you are paying and then you go through the process that was known by all the stakeholders.

“It is important to know that this ICUMS system was brought in about a month ago, it had challenges and for some reasons it was withdrawn.’

“What the pharmaceutical manufacturers are facing right is that currently they are not able to put in their documents before the consignment come in , there are companies that have 10 containers or more and then they have to start the process all over again.”

Last week, Mr Akwesi Serebour Boateng, Executive Member of the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana (ACHAG) said the ICUMS is a confused system at the port.

He said the system is creating problems for importers, a situation that is hampering revenue generation by the state.

Mr Serebuor Boateng told Ocansey on TV3  said : “ This is the worst transition I have seen in my life tome at the port.

“When somebody says ICUMS is a system I doubt, it is not a system. It is a confused thing. When you have a problem and you go to the custom officer that this is my problem he will tell you to go and do A, B, C but it won’t work.

“You come the next day to say another officer and that one also doesn’t work and then finally you must go and do it manually.”

“[Now] you moved to the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS), where any time you have a problem you pick your phone and call a call centre within five minutes the thing is resolved.

“Now ordinary manifest match – that is when the vessel comes and the manifest is sent, when you send the declaration the system is expected to match it. ICUMS is doing it manually so where is the system then? The system is that when you send the two it must match and cancel each other. Now a human being must do it so there is no system called ICUMS. It is just somebody’s imagination of something he wants to do at the port.

“Otherwise when you say a system, you move from one to two to three to four but they don’t have it.

“And so the whole thing is confused.”

The Public Relations Officer of Ghana Link, Norvan Acquah Hayford, assured that the challenges with the system will be addressed.

“With a very new system there are challenges the GRA officials and Ghana Link are working to ensure that these challenges we are having are dealt with,” he said on the same show.



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