The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), is piloting its e-auction programme for uncleared cargoes at the Tema Port through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
Mr Eric Afari, the Principal Revenue Officer in charge of Auction at Customs, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) who revealed this to the Ghana News Agency, said the piloting was being done on 15 vehicles earmarked for the process on Friday and Saturday, October 21 and 22, 2022.
Mr Afari said as at 1120 hours, the bidding process was ongoing online smoothly without any reported challenges and expressed the hope that the pilot e-auction would be a success to pave way for the full role out for all uncleared cargoes from October 31, 2022, to replace the existing paper-based system.
He stated that the e-auction would enable all interested bidders to obtain access using the online platform, “auction.icums.gov.gh” to sign up using the Ghana Card.
He explained that after signing onto the website, the necessary registration information must be inputted, after which a bidder would be able to scan through pictures of the various items lined up for auction to apply.
He added that the reserve price for all auction goods would be publicly declared online, where the IT system itself would automatically select the highest bidder.
He however, cautioned that all bidders who failed to follow through their transactions after winning a bid, would be subsequently blocked from using the system.
Mr Afari expressed the hope that the e-auction would facilitate the disposal of uncleared cargo much faster, decongest the ports, and state warehouses as well as make revenue collection through auctions much easier.
He said one major motivation for the introduction of the e-auction by management was to reduce the rate of negative deviations Customs suffered over the years.
He disclosed that Customs saw nine per cent, 20 per cent, and 11 per cent negative deviations from auctions respectively, in the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.
He revealed that some goods stayed at the port for a long time, making some successful bidders to return the goods with the excuse that they had gone bad and therefore needed a replacement.
Mr Afari said some vehicles auctioned were in bad conditions, or overaged, adding that because some bidders do not take their time to examine the vehicles well, they pay the duties before raising issues.
He added that some too who won bids, did not pay on time, noting that some bidders also used fake chits.
“Some were able to clear with the fake chits, others were arrested, and we took them to court. They can scan signatures and at compliance you see the chit as a genuine chit.
“That is why we have decided to go with e-auction, it will remove all the bottlenecks”, he said.