Business News of Thursday, 3 January 2019
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been directed to suspend the implementation of the Uni-Pass port clearing system, which was initially scheduled to start on January 1, 2019, due to various legal, operational and policy issues.
The directive, contained in a Decision Note of the Economic Management Team headed by Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and dated December 20, 2018, said the decision to suspend the implementation of the Uni-Pass system and allow for the use of the existing National Single Window is to allow time for Cabinet to scrutinize the 10-year sole-sourced Uni-Pass deal.
“…The planned introduction of Uni-Pass on January 1, 2019 be suspended, with a transition period to at least August 2019 to avoid potential disruptions to the port clearing system,” the Decision Note signed by Prof. Joe Amoako-Tuffour, Secretary/Member of the EMT said.
In the statement, the EMT has tasked CUPIA of Korea and Ghana Link Network Service to provide a demonstration that they had developed a ” full end to end Customs Technology Solutions Systems, successfully tested, with independent Stress Report and provide a comprehensive implementation plan to the EMT by the end of January 2019?.
The suspension of the take-off date for the Uni-Pass system is also to allow for the Attorney General to advise government on abrogating the existing contract with Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) and West Blue (Customs World).
“The Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister for Finance [should] bring to Cabinet for the consideration and approval of the Uni-Pass arrangement and the Ghana Link Network Services Limited contract,” the Decision Note copied to the Commissioner-General of the GRA said.
The Trade Ministry signed the 10-year deal with Uni-Pass in March 2018 to provide single window services at the country’s ports, though two existing companies—GCNet and Customs World (West Blue) — currently operate the nation’s existing single window system.
After hundreds of hours of working to perfect the system and boosting government’s revenue through blocking of leakages, Uni-Pass was scheduled to take over the single window operations on January 1, 2019, though the existing operators still have running contracts.
The GCNet contract ends in 2023 while the West Blue contract expires in 2020. This means that there are still about 5 and 2more years, respectively for them to operate the single window system.
The takeover of single window operations from Customs World (WestBlue Consulting) and GCNet is expected to cost the tax payers more money.
Ghana Link with its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 percent fee (FOB) per their 10-year sole sourced contract with Ministry of Trade.
This figure is extremely higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet are currently receiving as a fee.
West Blue Consulting with its overseas partner, Customs World Dubai currently earns 0.28 percent, while GCNet earns 0.4 percent.
So, the two existing vendors providing single window operations in Ghana together are taking 0.68 percent which is far below what UNIPASS is going to take (0.75 percent).