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Minority Opposes Replacing GCNET, West Blue with UNIPASS at Ghana’s ports

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The Minority of Parliament has kicked against the rollout of systems by Ghana Link and UNIPASS at the country’s ports by the Government of Ghana. 

According to them, the new contract signed with the Korean company does not make economic sense and contradicts government’s cost cutting policy.

Speaking to journalists, the Deputy Ranking Member on the Trade, Industry and Tourism Committee in Parliament, Yusif Sulemana questioned the motives of government in awarding the deal to Ghana Link and UNIPASS.

“The GCNet concept is one of the only projects that each government in the 4th Republic has built upon. The Akufo-Addo government will be the only one to depart from this. And strangely, they are doing so recklessly that the potential of saddling the country with judgement debt could not be higher.”

“Our belief is that the puppet masters pulling the strings for this transaction could only be motivated by what they stand to gain privately. Those people must be reminded that dawn is on the horizon and they will answer questions.”

Mr. Sulemana posed these questions in a bid to seek clarity on the deal

  • Why is government seeking to replace systems that are tried and tested with those that are not?
  • Why is government seeking to replace competent, internationally recognised indigenous homegrown companies and systems with foreign systems particularly in this era of self-sufficiency and Ghana Beyond Aid?
  • Why is the government using sole sourcing system for this kind of competitive project?
  • Why is the government agreeing to pay 93 million dollars in case of a termination for a contract worth 40 million dollars
  • Why is the government choosing to abrogate cheaper contracts for more expensive contracts
  • What is the problem with the current system that warrants a replacement? We need to know the justification and most importantly what is UNIPASS bringing on board that the current system does not have.
  • Where is the feasibility study which is a condition precedent in the agreement they signed to show the extraordinary benefits that are expected from Ghana Link contracts.

UNIPASS Failure

President of the Ghana Institute of freight forwarders (GIFF), Edward Akrong recently noted that, it took Ghana Link in collaboration with Customs UNI-PASS International Agency (CUPIA) of Korea Customs Services some five days to successfully make just one single declaration of imported goods into Ghana, an embarrassing evidence the company is not ready to take over the operations of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW)

“As we speak now only one declaration has gone through the UNIPASS system since the Senior Minister’s directive. “You can’t be proud of one declaration going through a system, taking about five days. So what will happen if you have about 20,000 declarants hitting your system at the same time within one day?” Mr. Akrong noted in an interaction with journalists in his Tema office.

The Freight Forwarders president continued: “If the UNIPASS system is not working, we cannot hide the fact, we have to speak up. We know the system is not ready… We do not have anything against government’s policies and programs, but if a decision will take a hit on the Ghanaian trader and importer then we have to speak up.”

IMANI Raise Red Flags

Policy and advocacy think tank, IMANI, has been consistent in blowing the whistle on the anomalies contained in the Ghana Link/UNIPASS deal.

IMANI’s recent statement on the issue said “It is important to note that Ghana’s Trade and Finance Ministers and their deputies continue to make the case for Ghana Link to replace existing systems that are working perfectly fine on the basis of Ghana Link’s superiority in implementing the two functions mentioned and promised in Sierra Leone, but which, evidently has failed for six years, eventually leading to termination of its agreement.

“They were meant to develop a single window and this is yet to be implemented after Six years. This could only mean one thing- that Ghana Link did not have the capacity to simultaneously implement the components they signed up to. I have attached copies of letters from Sierra Leone’s Chief Minister and Solicitor-General to this letter…. With the exception of the EMT, that has taken steps to mediate between competing vendors and the two ministries, the two ministries have disregarded the EMT’s directives on ensuring live demonstrations to ascertain UNI-PASS’ superiority. The Senior Minister’s office has compounded the confusion by issuing counter directives to Ghana Link to proceed with implementation.”

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