IMANI Ghana, a Policy Think Tank has called on the NPP government to as a matter of urgency hold on with the UNIPASS’ takeover of Ghana’s ports until its promoters have demonstrated value far and above the existing systems.
According to the IMANI boss, Franklin Cudjoe, by the nature of UNI-PASS’s antecedents, it has the potential to severely disrupt trade and revenue flow is certain.
There is a growing concern among stakeholders at the country’s port regarding Ghana Link and its foreign partner, CUPIA of Korea Customs Service persistent attempt to takeover singer window operations at the ports.
Even though they have still not been able to build a new superior and tested system since signing a 10-year sole-sourced contract with the Ministry of trade in 2018 to take over from the existing vendors, GCNET and West Blue Consulting.
The impact of UNIPASS on the trading community and revenue generation for the government have been unanimously bemoaned by users of the ports.
The users have complained that the UNIPASS system is not new or superior to what is being used currently at the port after it was demonstrated to them by (CUPIA) of Korea Customs Services.
NO NEW SYSTEM
Mr. Cudjoe in a release copied to relevant stakeholders and the vice president, Mahamudu Bawumia said UNIPASS’s system is not superior or different from what the current vendors are operating with.
The Trade Ministry said after signing the controversial deal that the introduction of UNIPASS is expected to make the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) program more comprehensive with a clearance management system, a cargo management system, an information management system, and an administration system.
However, Mr. Cudjoe said “All these functions are available on the existing systems. These are the Ghana Integrated Cargo Clearance System (GICCS), the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) on GCNet platform and the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), the Customs House Agents Management System (CHAMS), the Joint Inspection Management Information System (JIMIS) and the Risk Management System (RMS) on the West Blue Platform”.
The Economic Management team, headed by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia after listening to all major ports stakeholders who had concerns, suspended the implementation of UNIPASS in 2019 due to the inability of the promoters to demonstrate superior value and integrity of their technology.
UNIPASS is yet to demonstrate that they had developed a full end-to-end customs technology solutions systems, successfully tested, with independent Stress Report on the system implementation among others as requested by EMT. But its promoters and assigns are erecting valuation equipment at some of the borders.
Mr. Cudjoe said, “It took two years for West Blue and GCNET to integrate and work cohesively, it is a wonder how long the transition period would be for UNIPASS, whose credentials in the space are still unknown to integrate the existing system, if at all necessary”.
He, therefore, urged the government to reconsider its decision on the controversial UNIPASS deal to save the port.