Govt to claw back GH¢300 million monthly at the ports -Franklin Cudjoe, President, IMANI Africa
President and CEO of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe
The government could claw back GH¢300 million monthly, following its intention to reverse its policy on reduced benchmark values by 35% for imported vehicles and 50% for general goods, policy tink tank, IMANI Africa has predicted.
Before this policy was introduced, total port revenues in 2018 was GH¢13.2 billion, but after the policy was introduced, revenues dipped to GH¢12 billion in 2019.
A statement issued by IMANI President noted that “it is unclear if this policy benefited the economy. However, the point to note here is that, by a reversal of this policy, we could claw back GH¢300 million every month in 2020 without UNIPASS."
“Even if UNIPASS is pummeled through by relying on GCNET/West Blue systems, the new savings would be because of policy change and not because of UNIPASS. This is just like the ‘awam’ savings attributed to KELNIGVG when all that happened was 50% increase in CST and increased subscriber growth in mobile phones and data.”
The decision of the government to contract UNIPASS/Ghana Link to provide an integrated end-to-end processing platform to deliver the Ghana National Single Window has faced several resistances from lots of groups and stakeholders.
Some of the arguments of these groups and stakeholders have been; the single sourcing of the contract, the capacity of Ghana Link, the contract fees, the contract termination clause, and the hanging legal issue between West Blue and UNIPASS over copyright infringement.
IMANI had earlier on also petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo on the UNI-PASS deal.
The policy think tank urged government to temporarily suspend operations of UNI-PASS and allow GCNET and West Blue to operate for the remainder of the year in order to assure the nation of revenues, most likely GH¢10 billion given depressed trade activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to IMANI Africa, the apparent termination of the contracts of West Blue and GCNET have brought to bear some crucial trade facilitation issues.
The petition signed by the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe also stated some worrying incidents of false starts with the UNI-PASS system, thus the need to suspend the operations with UNI-PASS.
The Uni-Pass is a new port clearing system that processes documents and payments through one window. This will be a departure from the previous system where ‘valuation and classification’ and ‘risk management and payment’ were handled by different entities.
The system, being spearheaded by Ghana Link Services Ltd, in partnership with Customs Uni-Pass International Agency (CUPIA) of the Korean Customs Service, the designer of the system, will replace the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAARS) and the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) jointly operated by the Customs Division, the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) Ltd and West Blue Consulting.
CUPIA Korea, which is assisting the Customs Division to implement the Uni-Pass system, has described it as an enhanced single window system for trade facilitation.