IMANI, a policy Think-Tank has petitioned Parliament over the awarding a 10-year sole sourced contract to a new company at the port.
The group is asking Parliament to launch a parliamentary enquiry into UNIPASS contract to prevent disruption to Ghana’s progress on trade facilitation.
Government of Ghana under the Ministry of Trade recently awarded a 10-year sole sourced contract to the South Korean company to provide Single Window services at the ports, in spite of the fact that there are already existing companies, West Blue and GCNet providing the services.
Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI who signed the petition questioned why government is handing over the port to a new Single Window operator when the existing vendors are doing a tremendous work coupled with the paperless reform introduced by the vice president at the port which is removing bottlenecks and increased revenue substantially.
Touching on the US$180 Million that the UNIPASS will earn over the 10-year period based on the current import volumes, he said “Why will the Ministry of trade sign a 10-year contract whose fee structure (ad valorem) contravenes the Trade Facilitation Agreement that Ghana just ratified, specifically to the Article on the Disciplines on Fees and Charges
“What motivated Trade Ministry’s decision to procure a new system instead of strengthening existing systems? What different functions will the new operators offer which is missing from the existing systems (GCNet and West Blue platforms)?”
Another issue he raised in the petition is about the existing contract of the two vendors providing single window operations at the port.
GCNet contract ends in 2023 while the West Blue contract expires in 2020.
“Is the government going to abrogate these contracts and at what cost?
“If government does not intend to abrogate these contracts, how will all three companies operate on the single window platform? What is the implication for trade facilitation?,” Mr. Cudjo questioned.
“Given that these two systems took two years to integrate and work cohesively, it is a wonder how long the transition period would be for UNI-PASS to integrate into the existing system”.
He recommended that there should be a well-planned transition time with clearly defined roles for each of the ICT solution providers ahead of the implementation of UNI-PASS.
The takeover of single window operations from West Blue Consulting and GCNet will cost the tax payers more money.
The South Korea’s customs agency said in a recent publication that the 10-year deal it has signed with Ghana to deploy its single window system at the country’s port cost US$40 million.
Ghana Link with its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 percent fee (FOB) per their 10-year sole sourced contract with Ministry of Trade.
This means that Ghanaian importers will be paying about US$180 million at the end of UNIPASS’s 10-year contract with Ghana based on the current import volumes.
The outrageous figure is extremely higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet are currently receiving as a fee.
West Blue Consulting with its overseas partner, Customs World Dubai currently earns only 0.28 percent, which is less than half of UNIPASS’ 0.75 percent fees.
GCNet earns 0.4 percent. So, the two existing vendors providing single window operations in Ghana together are taking 0.68 percent which is far below what UNIPASS is going to take (0.75 percent).