IMANI petitions parliament over UNI-PASS contract, calls for parliamentary probe

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IMANI Centre for Policy & Education has petitioned parliament to seek answers to a litany of issues raised by the policy think-tank in respect of a 10-year contract awarded to UNI-PASS to provide trade facilitation at Ghana’s ports.

It explained that the petition has become necessary because since June 2018, IMANI has sent a number of letters with questions about this contract and how it will be implemented, with no answers given by the government.

The petition, dated December 14, 2018, was sent to the Speaker of Parliament, First and Second Deputy Speakers, as well as the Majority and Minority leaders.

Ghana Link Network Services Limited and its international partner with Customs UNI-PASS International Agency (CUPIA) of Korea Customs Services, contracted by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, are set to commence operations on January 1, 2019.

This means that the contracts of Ghana Community Network Limited (GCNet) and Customs World Dubai (West Blue) will be terminated by December 31, 2018.

The petition, signed by Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President of IMANI, wants 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.

Will new contract increase revenue?

It asks if revenues are likely to increase from the existing situation with the new system and if the increase will be large enough to offset the potential lost revenue from government shareholding in GCNet?

GCNet, West Blue have 5 and 2 years more in their contracts respectively

The GCNet contract ends in 2023 while the West Blue contract expires in 2020.

What is the cost of abrogating the contract?

This means that there are still about five and two more years, respectively, for them to operate the Single Window system and therefore raises issue about the cost of abrogating the contract.

UNI-PASS will take 18 months to fully deploy

According to IMANI, in September 2018, DANIDA recommended that after the January 1, 2019 start date of UNI-PASS, there should be an 18-month development, installation and configuration period.

“Is this being done? What will the transition look like and what consequences will it have for trade facilitation and revenue mobilization?” it asked.

Will UNI-PASS complete Single Window?

The policy think-tank wants to know if the  introduction  of  UNI-PASS  complete  the  Ghana  National  Single  Window  (GNSW) programme.

Is UNI-PASS deploying anything different from GCNet, West Blue system?

IMANI asks, “How  essentially  different  is  the  Ghana  Integrated  Cargo  Clearance  System  (GICCS),  the  Ghana Customs  Management  System  (GCMS)  on  GCNet  platform  and  the  Pre-Arrival  Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), the Customs House Agents Management System (CHAMS), the Joint Inspection Management Information System (JIMIS) and the Risk Management System (RMS) on  the West Blue Platform on one hand to what has been proposed in the UNI-PASS”?

Was there review processes?

The petition seeks to know the review processes the Ministry of Trade carried out recently to justify the signing of this agreement, and requested that MoTI shares the results of the feasibility studies carried out in 2015 on the ports, which was conducted by CUPIA of Korea Customs Services and Ghana Link Network Services.

Trade Ministry in breach of Customs Amendment Act?

In the petition, IMANI questioned why the Trade Ministry awarded the UNI-PASS agreement when a subsection of the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2016 (Act 923) amending the Principal Act clearly  states  the  Ghana  Revenue  Authority  (GRA)  as  the  one  to  manage  the  National  Single Window System.

Who bears cost of training, change management and integration?

The policy think-tank is seeking information on the nature of the contract between MoTI and Ghana Link Network Services Limited and who bears the cost of training, change management and integration.

“Has  there  been  an  update  on  the initial  review on  the  paperless  port  processes and  what  are  the successes and challenges?” it added.

Source: The Finder

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Kennedy Mornah is an Award Winning Ghanaian Journalist with over two decades of experience in the Ghanaian Media landscape spanning the electronic, print and digital media. He is a Media Consultant, a Corporate MC, Radio and TV Host, Founder and Publisher of the Maritime and Transport Digest Newspaper, Businessman, a Go getter and an optimist. He has worked for renowned media organizations including Diamond Fm in Tamale, Luv Fm in Kumasi, Oman Fm in Accra and Starr Fm in Accra In 2017 he received the Reporter of the Year Award at the Ghana Shippers Awards in Accra, Ghana.

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