Come January 2019, South Korean Customs – UNI-PASS Trade Facilitation Tool – will be deployed at the country’s ports as the national Single Window System.
The deployment of the application is aimed at increasing revenue for the country.
The Customs Uni-Pass International Agency (CUPIA) of South Korea, which designed and built the UNI-PASS technology, has consistently been ranked among the top 10 on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Ranking on the Trading across Borders criteria.
In that regard, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has entered into a contractual agreement with Messrs Ghana Link Network Services Limited to deploy UNI-PASS Customs Technology to help provide a comprehensive national single window platform in Ghana to rake in more revenue for the country.
The Single Window System at the ports is currently being jointly managed by Ghana Community Network Limited (GCNet) and Customs World Dubai (West Blue).
Again, under the Uni-Pass deal, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is due to be in full control of the Single Window System by having access to the operating code of the system which, reportedly, was not the case under West Blue and GCNet.
By December 31, 2018, the contracts of GCNet and West Blue with the Ghanaian government are expected to end but there is a caveat to allow transition process.
Ghana Link Network and its international partners, Customs UNI-PASS International Agency (CUPIA) of South Korea Customs Services, were contracted by Ministry of Trade as ‘perfect’ replacement to operate the Single Window System.
No Judgment Debt
There have been concerns about a possible judgment debt arising from the terminations of the contracts of the two service providers, but DAILY GUIDE has reliably been informed that there will not be any judgment debts as their contracts have duly come to completion.
It is understood that before West Blue was brought into the picture for the Single Window System by ex-President John Mahama, the application of Uni-Pass had been selected for the contract and that at the signing stages, the former president replaced the Korean company.
The Korean had carried out feasibility study across the country and had trained customs officers both in Ghana and in South Korea but at the last minute the project was switched from them.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Ghana, has raised concerns over the Uni-Pass contract, saying that its initial analysis has not added up and has therefore called for a parliamentary probe into the arrangement.
According to IMANI, its position is to seek answers to some issues that have been raised in respect of the contract, explaining in a statement that its position on the matter has become necessary because since June 2018, it had sent a number of letters to the sector ministry about how the contract will be implemented, with no answers given so far.
IMANI’s petition presented to Parliament on December 14, 2018, was addressed to the Speaker of Parliament and copied to the First and Second Deputy Speakers as well as the Majority and Minority Leaders of Parliament.
In the petition signed by its President, Franklin Cudjoe, IMANI demanded 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.
But Ghana Link which has been awarded a 10-year contract by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to operate the new application had paid over $40 million for the UNIPASS software, and is expected to provide a much improved ‘end-to-end’ single window service for the country which DAILY GUIDE understands West Blue and GCNet were unable to provide.
Uni-Pass, DAILY GUIDE is also informed, is due to provide a more ‘solid’ service that will thoroughly fight against revenue leakages and thereby improve government’s revenue generation capacity and the process is owned by Ghana Customs since they will be managing it.
Again, under the deal, the new operator is scheduled to build a data warehouse where it will keep records of importers as the under the current system, this paper is informed that there is no data warehouse for keeping track of importers.
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