Truth be told, the continuous failure of the newly introduced Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS systems has caused a major disservice to the gains the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has achieved at the ports and some more catastrophic disaster looms in the coming weeks and months if a political decision is not taken with a sense of urgency to save the nasty situation.
It is a clear political and economic deficit that ought not to have travelled this far but the persons behind it would simply not let go although it is causing a huge collateral damage to NPP and the Akufo-Addo presidency for that matter.
Put aside all the ‘politics’ and excuses, fact is the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system has failed to live up to expectation.
The cure cannot be worse than the challenge it is supposedly pretending to cure. This supposed cure, is rather the problem.
It is bad to an extent that importers and clearing agents are now openly hooting at Ministers of state, Customs officials are resorting to manual clearance as though we were retrogressing into what pertained some 20 years ago, imports are not been cleared under the new system, Ghana Ports and Habour Authority (GHPA) terminals not working, the system not synchronizing with DVLA, the banks and related agencies, and worse of all, there seems to be no solution in sight.
Proponents of the faulty system have not stopped blaming others for their failure and playing politics with the issues. They have alleged sabotage, they have shopped for all manner of flimsy excuses, they have pleaded for extensions and extended extensions of more time to set up all to no avail because the system is simply weak and they are equally clueless on how to rectify the challenge.
What is the danger here? The hiccups and the continuous nature of it, is eroding the gains of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) and paperless ports systems, the indecent haste with which the system is being introduced is causing a major but avoidable disruption in trade facilitation and revenue generation, the entire saga is frustrating clearing agents and importers, the known Ministers and their deputies pushing this controversial agenda are making a mess of themselves and this government as though they were on a planned mission of political suicide some six months to general elections.
The Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo, Trade Minister Alan Kyeremanten, Deputy Finance Minister Kweku Kwarteng are at liberty to make all manner of pro-UNIPASS lobbying and politically correct statements when they meet at the Presidency, but facts are sacred, the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS systems has failed, it is still failing and if not for the strong political connection of the persons behind the agenda, it should have been knocked off a long time ago to save the ports, save the economy, save the country!!!
We have gone past the stage of debating whether or not the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS systems is truly superior to the systems of West Blue and GCNet as claimed by Alan and his team, the evidence is now clear and loud that the system is not what it was touted to be.
The contract itself, that was signed by the Trade Ministry to give green light to Ghana Link to bring in UNIPASS itself has been problematic and raised eyebrows of both legal and economic brains.
What is patriotic about taking the job of GCNet, a company which government has 35 percent shares and then giving the job to a company which government has zero shares?
How do we build a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ when you take the job of a one hundred percent owned Ghanaian company, West Blue, and hand it over to another company that would outsource same job to a 100 percent owned foreign company?
What is the sense in taking the job from GCNet and West Blue, despite their proven track record which this same government has bragged about over the years and then handing the job over to Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS which keeps failing at it and causing revenue losses all over and sparking trader agitations 6 months to general elections in this COVID-19 season?
Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS is just one bad and wrong deal that has given this government and continuous to give it a very bad image.
As to why Custom officers say one thing in private and another thing in public about the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS systems, it remain another topic for another day. MORE SOON.