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Opinions of Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Columnist: DAYBREAK

Politics over paperless port

President Nana Akufo-Addo President Nana Akufo-Addo

DAYBREAK has picked disturbing reports of ongoing scheming along the corridors of power over the future of Ghana’s attempt to operate a completely paperless ports system by September this year.

Our sources at the Ministry of Finance say there are plans for the project to be given to an entirely new company to operate although there are two companies already implementing the same project.

Reports say some five companies, including two foreign ones, have submitted proposals to government to be given the contract to operate the proposed paperless ports system and over the weekend, a certain Kingsley McKelvin was in a meeting in London with government bigwigs as part of high level lobbying to get the contract.

The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) and West Blue Consult are the two companies working towards a paperless ports system and both companies have given several assurances and demonstrated the ability to meet the September 1 deadline given by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.

Indeed several stakeholders including the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance have expressed expert opinions that what is needed is for all the current systems, GCNet, West Blue, GHAPOHA and others at the ports to integrate their data to start the paperless ports transaction.

It is therefore curious to pick credible reports that behind the scenes high-level talks, expensive lobbying and ‘pat-on-the-back’ assurances are ongoing for a new company to be given the contract. And the assurance-givers have started travelling with the assurance-receivers.

The situation would be akin to the infamous Bank Switch saga which caused Ghana some needless judgment debt to the tune of over GH¢200 million, simply because a group of politicians, in a ‘show of power adventure’ decided to abrogate the contract of the company midway.

DAYBREAK is following the development and would be reporting on the names behind the companies receiving assurances and which big names are giving the assurances.