Business News of Monday, 28 May 2018
President of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu Appiah has cautioned government against bringing UNIPASS on board to help provide a comprehensive national single window platform in Ghana to rake in more revenue for the country.
He said the coming in of UNIPASS will not only be chaotic but suicidal since GCNET and Westblue systems are already doing what UNIPASS will be doing.
According to him, “in every system implementation, a basic assessment has to be done to establish a gap if any. Once this is done a Proof of Value (POV) must be done to establish the strategic fit. This process is to ensure that the system being implemented aligns with the strategic objectives of the entity implementing the system.”
“In high-end system implementation like in the case of the Port, various forms of simulations, pretests and parallel runs must be done to ascertain the efficacy of the system. Aside this, various players and stakeholders in the industry must be extensively consulted to give their inputs and acceptance,” he said.
He expressed their disbelief when the Ministry of Trade announced the UNIPASS system to replace the existing workable solutions on the ground in the wake of the rigorous review on the Paperless Port System which is spearheaded by the Vice President.
At a press conference in Accra, the President of GIFF said “The trajectory on which we are riding is not only chaotic but suicidal. We have travelled on this journey before and have learnt our lessons as a country and for that matter, we don’t need to repeat the errors of old. This is why it was very unfortunate for the Ministry of Trade to have announced the replacement of GCNET and Westblue Systems with no justification. Whilst the Ministry takes this initiative they fail to understand that, the Port as a strategic asset of this country cannot and must not be used for experiment”.
Mr Ofosu Appiah noted that since 2002 when GCNET introduced the National Single Window, there has been some consistent incremental progress in the areas of trade facilitation, revenue mobilization, business process and IT infrastructure adding that it is a wonder why with all these successes amidst the resolvable challenges, a decision would be reached without facts to replace these systems.
He stated that it has been established that the processing fee for the UNIPASS system will be 0.75% of Free on Board (FOB). Compared to the combined fee of GCNET (0.40% of FOB) and West Blue (0.28% of CIF) which sums up to 0.68% in simplistic terms.
“It is important to reemphasize that government receives 35% out of the 0.40% fee of GCNET. So in real terms, GCNET receives 0.26% (0.40% less 35%). This brings down the total of 0.68% to 0.54% (GCNET 0.26% + WestBlue 0.28). These are the bare facts and as such government will have to choose between UNIPASS fee of 0.75% and the existing fee of 0.54%.”
According to Mr Ofosu Appiah, the Ministry of Trade needs to understand the strategic role of the port and its impact on GDP and the economy at large and to go back to the drawing board.
“It should be noted that any such intervention should be driven strategically by evidential data suggesting a justifiable reason for take over. Interestingly, in this write up, we have been able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt by facts and figures that what we have on the ground is a work in progress and challenges identified are being fixed and therefore any attempt to replace the system will be akin to reinventing the wheel. We don’t need UNIPASS!!” he stressed.