UNIPASS Unfazed…By Needles Negative Campaign

Operators of Unviersal Press (Uni-Pass), Korea Customs Service (KCS) electronic customs clearance system for trade facilitation currently being piloted at Takoradi port hcih will be deployed at Ghana’s ports and frontiers are optimistic of successful business in Ghana.

For them, their objective is to reduce the cost of doing business at Ghana’s ports.

According to them, they are unfazed by targeted negative media campaign by persons who have opposed the system from onset.

Without any reasonable justification for their opposition other than mere hatred for persons behind UNI-Pass, the negative campaigners are already predicting doom for the system which has chalked success in other ports round the Global.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) commenced the piloti8ng of the UNI-Pass system at the Takoradi port after what they say was a successful test run of direct imports and exports at the Eastern frontier especially the Aflao Sector to ensure the system was fit for purpose.

Though GRA is yet to issue its initial report about the ongoing pilot process at the Takoradi port, some pessimists are reporting that UNIPASS pilot has failed without providing any data to back such claims.

IMANI which appears to back the naysayers in an advisory letter to the Ministry of Trade and Industry said, “Our advice to the government will be to shelve UNIPASS until its promoters have demonstrated value far and above exiting system.

“Gives that the two systems – West Blue and GCNet – took two years to integrate and work cohesively. It is a wonder how long the transition period would be for UNIPASS,” it added.

These views expressed by IMANI has been the understanding of anti UNIPASS critics who are under the illusion that President Nana Addo or his cabinet had no idea about the contract and have consistently pointed accusing fingers at Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen.

President of the Chamber of Freight Forwarders and Traders, Mr. Dennis Amfo-Sefah, at a press conference in May 208 said, “The UNI-PASS deal will reduce port charges and make it more profitable for us freight forwarders to operate at the port.

“We wish to state categorically that as a Chamber, we are in full support of the UNIPASS,” he stated.

Currently importers pay one percent of CIF as Customs Classification And Valuation Report (CCVR) fee to West Blue and 0.4 percent on FOB to GCNet as network charge, a total of 1.4 percent, which adds up to the cost of doing business in or country’s ports.” Mr. Amfo Sefa said.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah, in May 2018 also said UNIPASS deal is good for the country as it will also lead to a reduction of some port charge from 1% on a consignment of imported items to 0.75% on the same quantity of goods.

The deputy minister also assured stakeholders at the ports that the move would rather rake in more revenue at the ports.

“We are doing everything possible and if you see my report, it was geared towards reducing the cost of business in the port…we don’t have anything against West Blue but we have everything against not maximizing revenue collection,” he said.

Mr. Ahenkorah discloses that shortfalls between GCNet and West Blue caused importers to clear goods at frugal prices.

“People were clearing brand new range rover from the port at GH5000.

A whole container of fruit juice for GH11, 000 because two systems were not talking…that is how bad we were losing revenue in this country,” he revealed.