REALITY on the grounds is that the new company, UNIPASS Cupia Korea, being brought in by some particular Ministers to take over the operations of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) has no system to do the job and all its pilot operations have gone completely wrong, exposing government to ridicule before the international community, DAYBREAK can report.
The lack of courtesy and confidence to admit that they were leading government on a wild goose chase and there ought to be a pull out strategy as a matter of urgency is what is further aggravating the situation and about to cause the country a financial loss running into several millions of dollars by their actions or inactions.
Fortunately, the state institutions responsible for surcharging government and possible officials that cause financial loss are all awake and observing the dance of macabre.
The Takoradi pilot operation of UNIPASS flopped , the Aflao pilot operation flopped and even a directive from Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo that importers should start using the untested UNIPASS system has remained nothing but an unrealistic directive that cannot be complied with unless there is an intentional decision to disrupt Ghana’s trade facilitation and revenue generation systems.
In the face of glaring evidence that UNIPASS has no system to take over, and per the contract it signed with the government of Ghana, the systems of the existing vendors would have to be taken from them and handed over to UNIPASS before it can start operations, a particular click of Ministers and deputy Ministers are bent on getting the company to start work at all cost.
The names of Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Marfo, Deputy Finance Minister Kweku Kwarteng and Deputy Trade Minister Carlos Ahenkora were on the lips of almost all relevant stakeholders at the Tema Ports yesterday for the wrong reasons as questions were being asked on what is being broken that the three are pretending to be fixing at all cost and creating an avoidable tension in the process.
The three have claimed and most likely said at official government forums that the UNIPASS system is a superior one and better than those of the current GNSW vendors, GCNet and West Blue because it has a supposed ‘one stop end-to-end’ system.
Strangely, not a single one of the three, Osafo-Marfo, Kweku Kwarteng and Carlos Ahenkora can boldly tell the country where and when the supposed ‘superior end-to-end’ was demonstrated successfully in this country or in any other country.
The strategy has been a mere show of political power to bend the hand of stakeholders to fall in line with their agenda, despite loud warnings and cautions from civil society groups and now importers that the UNIPASS agenda would land the country in a ditch.
Importers To Pay More.
President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Eddie Akrong, has cautioned that the “UNIPASS system is all a mess because even when we tried the URL to register for a training workshop being organized to educate us on the new system and it was not working, not to talk of other challenges we have had with their so called superior system.
“If we do not do this right, there is going to be pure recipe for chaos, there will be a serious disruption. The government must withdraw the letter immediately, UNIPASS is not ready…What is broken that you would want to fix, there is absolutely no problem with the current system. You have over GH₵10,000 to 15,000 declarants hitting your system at the same time, so there has to be serious stress test to make sure that they can withstand all that pressure. So far we have not seen any report to say that all these stress tests have been done”, Mr. Akrong added.
He cautioned further that inadequate education and sensitization on the new system would cause huge cost in demurrages to be paid to shipping lines should the single window system ever experience a breakdown.
“This is technology we’re talking about and if you shut it down today, what happens? everything is stuck and as for those who are involved in this chain, they will be laughing all the way to the bank because if you’re thinking about the shipping lines, they don’t care because at the end of the day, if you delay them for three-five days to a week, they’re still going to charge their demurrages for the containers and that is going to be the cost on us freight forwarders and the importing public. Now that cost is going to be on the trader and transferred to us consumers,” Akrong explained.
Where Is The Takoradi Report?
Recently, UNIPASS piloted its supposed system at the Takoradi ports and the feedback from participants was embarrassing. They said the pilot was characterized by major challenges.
The pro-UNIPASS Ministers have not been able to proudly defend, display and show to the world, the stress report on the pilot exercise at the Takoradi port, just to back their claim that the system was indeed superior.