The official letters from the office of Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo that ordered West Blue Consult and GCNet to shut down their trade facilitation systems and allow Ghana Link/UNIPASS to take charge of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) still holds and has not been revoked although the two companies have been asked to resume work with a verbal notice.
Both West Blue and GCNet, although they have been told to return to work, are working with no written official permit or letter to revoke the one from Osafo-Marfo.
None of the companies have been told how long they would be at post, DAY-BREAK sources indicate that there are desperate moves by Ghana Link/UNIPASS to take over the ports again by middle of this week.
If that happens, West Blue and GCNet would be instructed once again to make way for Ghana Link/UNIPASS to roll out their version of trade facilitation that did not work last week and would not work this week until a proper system is in place and a clearly defined transition time table mutually agreed on.
Sources say the Nick Hotel in Tema has been busy with the Ghana Link/UNIPASS team as well as representatives from GRA Customs and the Presidency all through the weekend, putting measures in place to ask GCNet and West Blue to vacate post once again.
After Osafo-Marfo directed the two companies to stop work and hand over to Ghana Link/UNIPASS, it became clear that the new company cannot handle the job and for two and a half days, Ghana suffered huge amounts of a deliberate revenue loss as imports could not be cleared.
POLITICS WITHOUT PRINCIPLES
Although Vice President Bawumia, has praised the works of both GCNet and West Blue over the last three years and bragged about how their two systems have made Ghana an envy to the world as far as ease of doing business in concerned, the same government has turned round to paint GCNet and West Blue black with several derogatory comments in what seems like ‘give a dog a bad name to hang it’ strategy.
Again, it is embarrassing that the Ghana Link/UNIPASS systems have resorted to manual means of clearance instead of the electronic paperless ports systems inaugurated by Vice President Bawumia in 2017.
The manual system allows for the theft of goods, undervaluation, document fiddling, document forging, bribery, and leakages in government revenue. Under the Ghana Link/UNIPASS ICUMS arrangement, because it is manual, there is nothing like electronic access to Container Movement Report (CMR) and Delivery Order (DO).
It is the attempt to move from such outmoded and unprofessional systems that under the auspices of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, Vice President Bawumia in 2017 introduced the Paperless Ports electronic system and made a significant statement during the launch: “We expect the cooperation of all stakeholders to ensure ports efficiency. All of you have been engaged and must aim to do your parts to make the ports paperless. We would not really accept any excuses.
“Agencies and service providers who are not ready to go paperless by September 1, (2017), would not be allocated any cargo. On the removal on internal customs barriers, these barriers would be redundant in the long term with the introduction of the First Port Rule in Ghana”, Dr. Bawumia added but in April 2020, there is a reverse of progress under the Ghana Link/UNIPASS system, a clear testimony of politics without principles