The embattled port management system UNIPASS has finally come out of the closet to make public its position around the controversial decision by the Akufo Addo administration to hand it a US$ 40 million contract despite an existing port management contract being operated by a different company.
In a statement copied to Whatsup News, UNIPASS said the government had conducted all due diligence and had concluded that the contract was value for money. UNIPASS, however, admitted that it had challenges in rolling out its system, resulting in the massive gridlock at the ports recently, however, it says it has learnt its bitter lessons.
“Indeed we acknowledge that implementing a national single window system will happen without challenges. But what is important is that, while these challenges emerge, the rate at which one resolve them is what is important and Ghana Link and its partners have been very swift to resolve all the challenges which have been raised with the system. The ICUMS or the UNIPASS system which is currently deployed at the various frontiers was piloted at Afloa and Elubo with Takoradi having simulations and stress test before take-off on April 1, 2020,” read the statement signed by Norvan Acquah – Hayford the PR Manager of UNIPASS.
UNIPASS has also debunked claims that its system will cost the Ghanaian government more than what Ghana Community Network (GC-Net), its competitor, is charging.
In a breakdown, UNIPASS says its total charges to the Ghanaians government is 0.75% of the goods it processes, while GCNET’s system costs 0.92%. These are Free On Board (FOB) Charges.
The controversy over charges to government and consequently, importers is set to rage on because, earlier calculations by policy think-tank IMANI-Africa, it claimed GCNET was charging less.
UNIPASS’S Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS) is operated by Ghana Link Network Services and Korean operator COPIA.
In April 2020, the Akufo Addo administration with Mr. Osafo Marfo as the henchman had pressured pressuring GCNET to vacate its contract for UNI-PASS, even though GCNET’s 10-year contract was scheduled to end in 2023.
Unfortunately, UNIPASS’ rollout in early April 2020 was characterised by challenges that set freight forwarders on edge
The confusion eventually forced the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to call for a collaboration between UNIPASS and GCNET
Meanwhile, UNIPASS states that iyt is set to roll out its systems in more entry ports in the country, including the Kotoka International Airport and the Tema Port.