Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo apparently did not have the support of freight-forwarded before clandestinely trying to abrogate the existing port management contract and imposing a questionable one on them.
Late last week, Whatsup News reported an intercepted letter from Mr. Osafo Marfo who was virtually pushing Ghana into a potential US$300 million judgment debt by imposing a questionable port management system from Korea called Universal Pass (UNI-PASS), in place of the existing operators- Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) and West Blue (Customs World).
In the letter, Mr. Osafo Marfo claims he had met with freight forwarders and concluded the need to introduce UNI-PASS from 1st March 2020. But apparently, he planned the takeover with a select few, because the Ghana Institute of Freight forwarders are opposed to the plan, saying a change will cause confusion at the ports.
The President of the GHIFF, Edward Akrongwho in an interview with Joy Business a few days ago warned against the backdoor introduction of UNI-PASS
“What is broken that you want to fix? We are not complaining about the system we have right now. What at all is new in what government is bringing that will assure me that is superior to what is currently running.
“UNIPASS will bring disruption if it is implemented. I tell you we have been to some of the training they organised. This does not make me happy at all,” he complained.
“The Senior Minister must be patient and he and his team including the management of UNIPASS must not rush this in any way or else they will have themselves to blame for the chaos which will hit the ports on Monday, March 2.”
GCNET currently collects approximately 97% of revenue for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) through its Customs division. This amounts to some GHC 40 million daily, Whatsup New gathered.
Ghana’s contract with GCNET is valid till 2023 and an abrupt abrogation or varying of the terms is likely to draw angst from GCNET and West Blue who have already hinted they may opt for litigation.
The haste to which the Senior Minister and his supporters in the administration are pushing the UNI-PASS deal is inexplicable, given the fact that Ghanaian importers would be paying more-0.75 per cent fee (FOB) , against GCNET’s 0.54 per cent charges.
Also, there is a clause in the backdoor contract signed with UNI-PASS which commits the Ghanaian government to pay it US$ 93 million in compensation for the first year if the government fails to ensure its begins operations.
UNI-PASS’ Ghanaian partner is called Ghana Link Network Limited and it is owned by one Nick Danso Adjei who is believed to be particularly close to the Jubilee House bigwigs and the Senior Minister, in what critics think is a possible kickback-ridden adventure.
Mr. Osafo Marfo wrote his latest letter a day after he had reportedly asked UNI-PASS to swerve Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia. On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Vice President Bawumia was scheduled to meeting with UNI-PASS to demonstrate their system for him. However, that meeting did not come up due to the Osafo Marfo effect.
A previous demonstration of the UNI-PASS system in Takoradi on February 21, 2020 ended in a disaster as UNI-PASS turned out to be inferior to the GCNET system, Whatsup New gathered.
According to reliable information available to Whatsup News, apart from government data held in trust by GCNET, it has also build physical infrastructure such as fibre-optic networks that several government agencies such as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS), etc., rely on.
In January 2019, the Economic Management Team (EMT) directed the Ministry of Trade and Industry to immediately suspend UNI-PASS planned rollout because they had not properly convinced the government that they can handle the port’s Single Window System.