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Business News of Tuesday, 18 December 2018


IMANI turns to parliament; raises red flags over UNI-PASS contract

IMANI Centre for Policy & Education has expressed reservation over the UNI-PASS contract stating that their initial analysis does not add up and therefore calls for a parliamentary probe.

The think-tank position is to seek answers to a litany of issues raised in respect of a 10-year contract awarded to UNI-PASS to provide trade facilitation at Ghana’s ports.

In a statement, it explained that the petition has become necessary because, since June 2018, IMANI has sent a number of letters with questions about this contract and how it will be implemented, with no answers given by the government.

The petition which was sent to parliament on December 14, 2018, was sent to the Speaker of Parliament and copied to the First and Second Deputy Speakers, as well as the Majority and Minority leaders.

Ghana Link Network Services Limited and its international partner with Customs UNI-PASS International Agency (CUPIA) of Korea Customs Services, contracted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, are set to commence operations on January 1, 2019.

This means that the contracts of Ghana Community Network Limited (GCNet) and Customs World Dubai (West Blue) will be terminated by December 31, 2018.

The petition, signed by Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President of IMANI, wants to know if the functions to be performed by UNI-PASS are missing from the Single Window deployed by GCNet and West Blue platforms, as well as how easily they can be added to the existing system and at what cost.

Will new contract increase revenue?

It asks if revenues are likely to increase from the existing situation with the new system and if the increase will be large enough to offset the potential lost revenue from government shareholding in GCNet?

GCNet, West Blue have five and two years more on their contracts.

The GCNet contract ends in 2023 while the West Blue contract expires in 2020.

What is the cost of abrogating the contract?

This means that there are still about five and two more years, respectively, for them to operate the Single Window system and therefore raises an issue about the cost of abrogating the contract.

UNI-PASS will take 18 months to fully deploy

According to IMANI, in September 2018, DANIDA recommended that after the January 1, 2019 start date of UNI-PASS, there should be an 18-month development, installation and configuration period.

“Is this being done? What will the transition look like and what consequences will it have for trade facilitation and revenue mobilization?” it asked.

Will UNI-PASS completes Single Window?

The policy think-tank wants to know if the introduction of UNI-PASS completes the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW) programme.

Is UNI-PASS deploying anything different from GCNet, West Blue system?

IMANI asks, “How essentially different is the Ghana Integrated Cargo Clearance System (GICCS), the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) on GCNet platform and the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), the Customs House Agents Management System (CHAMS), the Joint Inspection Management Information System (JIMIS) and the Risk Management System (RMS) on the West Blue Platform on one hand to what has been proposed in the UNI-PASS”?

Was there review processes?

The petition seeks to know the review processes the Ministry of Trade carried out recently to justify the signing of this agreement and requested that MoTI shares the results of the feasibility studies carried out in 2015 on the ports, which was conducted by CUPIA of Korea Customs Services and Ghana Link Network Services.

Trade Ministry in breach of Customs Amendment Act?

In the petition, IMANI questioned why the Trade Ministry awarded the UNI-PASS agreement when a subsection of the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 923) amending the Principal Act clearly states the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as the one to manage the National Single Window System.

Who bears the cost of training, change management and integration?

The policy think-tank is seeking information on the nature of the contract between MoTI and Ghana Link Network Services Limited and who bears the cost of training, change management and integration.

“Has there been an update on the initial review on the paperless port processes and what are the successes and challenges?” it added.