There is a letter from the government instructing the two trade facilitation vendors at the country’s ports, GCNet and WestBlue, to wind down their operations by May 31, 2020.
This means Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS will be the sole system used for all trade facilitation at the country’s ports.
However, given challenges encountered a month ago when GCNet shut its system for UNIPASS to be deployed fully at all ports of entry, including the busy Tema and Takoradi ports, questions have been raised about the new system’s readiness.
The deployment of the UNIPASS system at the Takoradi Port were fraught with challenges. The Freighters on Thursday, May 7, picketed at the Customs Office of the Ghana Revenue in Takoradi to call for the immediate suspension of UNIPASS system until the operators are able to fix the problem with the supposedly new system.
Initial attempts to roll out UNIPASS fully at Tema Port, at a time when GCNET had shut their system as directed by government, faced many challenges.
GCNet/WestBlue earlier this month shut their systems to allow UNIPASS deploy its system fully per directives received from the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Maafo.
However, for over two days freighters were unable to clear their goods. An Imani Africa analysis show that Ghana earns about GHC 33million per day at its ports. Thus about GHC 66million was lost due to the challenges with the ICUMS/UNIPASS.
The situation necessitated an emergency meeting between government and all stakeholders. At the end of the meeting GCNet/WestBlue were made to turn their systems back on to salvage the situation.
Ghana Link, the local partners of UNIPASS (ICUMS), however, say enough consultations have been done and their system is ready to be deployed fully on June 1.
Ghana Link told Business24 that they have the capacity to successfully manage trade facilitations at the ports and allayed fears over possible disruptions should GCNet shut down.