Finance Ministry secures approval to contract West Blue to manage Single Window platform

The government has made progress with its plan to sign a Single Window (SW) agreement with West Blue Ghana Consulting Limited.

Joy News’ sources say the Finance Ministry has secured approval from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to use sole sourcing in contracting West Blue Consulting to operate the controversial single window platform at the ports – a move that is likely to heighten the controversy over the deal.

Currently the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet), is claiming it has a contract to operate the SW facility till 2018 and has written to the Attorney General over a potential breach of contract if West Blue deal goes through.

However, a letter from the Attorney General states there will be a agreement breach because the National Single Window Program being undertaken by government is wider in scope and content than what GCNet is implementing.

The SW project is expected to provide an opportunity for traders to lodge their documents, including certificates of origin, invoices, customs declarations and import/export permits at a single location (electronically) to be accessed by all regulatory and trade agencies instead of traders sending copies of the same documents to different agencies.

Meanwhile, concerns over the competence of West Blue – which came up after it came out that the company could be getting the SW deal – has been thrown out by the Nigerian Customs Service.

The Nigerian Customs has written to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) vouching for the capability of West Blue Consulting Ltd to manage the SW.

West Blue has been implementing Nigeria’s equivalent of a Single Window platform at the ports.

The Ghana Revenue Authority had first written to the Nigerians as part of the due diligence on West Blue, and in their response, the Nigerians say that work of West Blue Consulting has helped increase revenue by about 20 per cent, reduce clearance time and improve operator compliance significantly at the Nigerian ports.

According to the Nigerian Customs West Blue has implemented a system so efficient that it has completely stabilised work at the ports, refuting reports that there were challenges at the Nigerian ports due to West Blues’ failed systems.

However, Nigeria says the challenges at the ports was not due to the West Blue system but rather because of another firm’s reluctance to live up to their contractual obligations.

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