The Single Window Operation in the country is becoming more interesting with some of the operators using importers and some members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) against UNIPASS, the new entity that has been roped into Single Window activities at the country’s ports.
The Inquisitor has laid hands on correspondence between the said operators and members of GIFF on how they should go all out and scuttle UNIPASS activities at the Takoradi Port.
Last week’s protest at the Takoradi Port in the Western Region, staged to make it look like the UNIPASS System had failed, was at the behest of the saboteurs, who had travelled all the way from Tema to Takoradi for the sinister agenda.
Government engaged UNIPASS, which is promoted by Ghana Link Network Services and Korea Customs Services Division (CUPIA), to take up the Single Window operation at Ghana’s ports because of its superior systems.
The whole UNIPASS deal was carefully thought through, but the old operators and their cohorts are on a unique mission to bastardize the whole project.
The saboteurs were transported from Tema to Takoradi and accommodated for days before they decided to demonstrate last Thursday.
Some hirelings with links to those who demonstrated at Takoradi also attempted to picket at the residence of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at Nima in Accra over the UNIPASS deal, but they ran helter-skelter when the police dispersed them for picketing illegally.
The Inquisitor has gleaned social media conversations among the hirelings and it was clear that they were sabotaging UNIPASS for some of the old operators of the Single Window system at the ports.
Per what The Inquisitor has, the saboteurs will activate more grimy agenda against the all-important UNIPASS deal.
There have been several unsuccessful attempts to link some top government officials to the deal with claims that those officials were going to benefit from the deal.
Amazingly, government settled on UNIPASS because of its superior systems that can rake in the needed revenue for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the nation’s developmental agenda.
The UNIPASS Journey
The feasibility studies on the capabilities of 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 a 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 all weak ends and prepare 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 also 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.”