Media warfare over ICUMS implementation needless – Ken Thompson

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CEO of Dalex Finance, Mr Ken Thompson, has called for a truce among stakeholders on the implementation of the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).

He said the time has come for stakeholders to desist from the media warfare on this matter and sit around the table to iron out the differences they have with the implementation of the system.

Since June 2, all transactions related to the import and export of goods at the various ports have 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 the implementation has met resistance from some importers and exporters who claim the system is ineffective and affecting their work.

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

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  stoked 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.”

Mr Ken Thompson, told Alfred Ocansey on the Sunrise show on 3 92.7FM Wednesday June 17 that the ICUMS is a good idea but its management is what is causing the problem for the stakeholders.

“The ICUMS system is a good system. I did a research on Korea, The Koreans are number one in e-government – the use of technology to provide services – and is also implemented in Tanzania, in Cameroun, Ecuador, and Columbia. So the system itself has no issue.

“But you have got to separate the system not having an issue with a project management. I think the project management has had failures and that is what is causing the problem.”

 

He added that: “You also have the issue with user resistance to a new thing. But all the parties must come together and somebody must be responsible to resolve it. It is such an important system and for revenue generation for a country like Ghana.

“Of course you are going to get user resistance so what arrangement did you out in place to deal with that?

“These things that are happening should have been anticipated and addressed. This is not the sort of things that you talk about in the pubic medium, No.”

Source: Laudbusiness.com/Ghana

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