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29.04.2020 Special Report

IMANI vindicated as Government is forced to beat retreat on introduction of Inefficient Ports System

By IMANI Ghana
IMANI vindicated as Government is forced to beat retreat on introduction of Inefficient Ports System
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The Ghana Revenue Authority calls for the return of the GCNET and West Blue port systems following failures in the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS)/UNIPASS.

The Ghana Revenue Authority has recently expressed its desire to see the return of the pre-existing GCNET and West Blue port systems after the uneconomic decision to replace these successfully implemented systems with the newly Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), popularly called UNIPASS.

The GRA adopted the new UNIPASS system on Tuesday, 28th April 2020 and have already ran into problems with the new platform. Now, according to the GRA, discussions have taken place in order to see the return of the GCNet/GCMS systems by Wednesday, 29th April 2020.

Furthermore, Freight Forwarders across the country have struggled to clear their goods under this UNIPASS system, with some freight forwarders resorting to manual means to clear their goods, thereby defeating the entire purpose of the supposed superior UNIPASS/ ICUMS.

Recently, the president of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr. Edward Akrong stated that “Our members cannot use the UNIPASS/ICUMS system because the system is problematic. Some importers have still not been able to clear their goods since April 9, 2020. We are losing a lot of revenue as a result of the failing system.” 1

Earlier last week IMANI petitioned the President to simply do the following:

1) 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 GHS10bn given depressed trade activity due to covid-19.

2) Conduct an independent review of the UNI-PASS system.

3)The Ministry of Trade and Finance should share revenue projections from implementing UNI-PASS with Ghanaians.

Mr. President, we believe your Senior Minister is undermining the valiant port reforms Dr. Bawumia pursued which brought significant revenues- Ghs5bn more since 2016 working with GCNET and WESTBLUE. This is not the time to play games with money.

Finally, we plead with the management and board of the GRA to stay resolute in their demands. Their professionalism and patriotism must count for something.

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