The discourses involving the new Single Window operator at the country’s ports have been infested with lies, mischief and inaccuracies to run down UNIPASS.
There are well orchestrated moves to whip up public sentiments against the very system that the government feels will plug all the loopholes in revenue generation at the ports.
UNIPASS is promoted by Ghana Link Network Services and its Korean partners, Korea Customs Division (CUPIA).
There are deliberate attempts to make UNIPASS look like an illegal entity being forced into the throat of those with dealings at the various points of entry and ports.
Those in the dirty agenda include some top government officials, who are in cahoots with certain key personalities with the promoters of the old two single window companies whose businesses have virtually come to an end.
The government’s decision to hand over the single widow operations to UNIPASS because of its superior systems has ruffled feathers within the corridors of power because certain top officials would prefer benefiting privately, instead of the nation raking in the much-needed revenue for development.
The deal, which was commenced in 2015, has now been placed at the doorsteps of certain persons in government.
For instance, the Senior Minister, Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has been wrongly accused of having a kind of interest in the UNIPASS when the truth is he was made to chair a Cabinet Sub-Committee tasked to look into single window operations and how best to sanitize the whole Single Widow activity.
The ten-year contract between the Ministry of Trade and Industry and UNIPASS was informed by feasibility studies that took place before the current administration took over governance in 2017.
UNIPASS will operate an end-to-end system at the ports, something that informed government’s decision to accept and approve the deal for the promoters.
Already, freight forwarders have embraced UNIPASS, with some of them asking their colleagues not to resist the system.
The earlier decision by the Economic Management Team (EMT) to postpone the takeoff period of UNIPASS was to enable the promoters to be fully prepared, and not that the government was not comfortable with the deal.
It has fully been established that UNIPASS has the capacity to rake in more revenue for the government, something the mischievous elements were fully aware of.
Story So Far
Feasibility studies on UNIPASS started in 2015, when Ghana and its Korean partners sold their unique idea to the government at the time.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry under the watch of Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen signed a 10-year contract with the company.
The Economic Management Team (EMT), headed by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in the past, has had cause to put the UNIPASS takeover of single window operations on hold.
The whole move was to enable the establishment to have proper understanding of the UNIPASS system and how it was going to help Ghana.
The promoters also used that decision by the EMT to tidy up all weak ends and prepared very well for the takeover.
So far, thousands of Customs officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have been trained on the new system.
Other stakeholders including banks and freight forwarders have been trained on the operations of the UNIPASS system and how it will fast-track activities at the port.
Call On Freight Forwarders To Embrace UNIPASS System
The president of the Chamber of Freight Forwarders and Traders, Dennis Amfo Sefa, says he expects freight forwarders to warm up to the idea of the UNIPASS single window system at the country’s ports
Just like how the Ghana Community Network System (GcNet) took over the country’s ports in 2002, Mr. Sefa said the UNIPASS system should be allowed time to develop.
It took about two years for GcNet and West Blue Consulting, the two companies that were initially operating the single window system, to integrate and work cohesively.
“We were all over the place. We did not understand why the government wanted to change the system that we had [at the time to GcNet] because it was perfect and it was working. We were also complaining that we had not been trained,” he recalled on Citi TV‘s The Point of View.
“So it takes time. There is no way freight forwarders will embrace change without friction.”
GcNet eventually trained over 100 companies at the time it rolled out its system.
Mr. Safo noted that the old systems also faced similar challenges.
“We resisted GcNet. We resisted West Blue, but today we are saying GcNet and West Blue are okay. So with time, we will get there. You will see that in two, three or four years time, we will come back here and say that UNIPASS is the best.”