Suspend UNIPASS to avoid revenue loss – Mass Action Committee

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The Mass Action Committee (MAC) is requesting government to suspend the UNIPASS arrangement to allow further consultations and due diligence in order to avoid revenue loss to the country.

Government as part of its efforts to maximize revenue from international trade, conceived the idea of having a single window system at the country’s entry points. Giving effect and meaning to this noble and efficiency enhancing mechanism, has over the years led government to engage the services of entities like GCNet, WESTBLUE, SML and Ghana Link among others. These bodies performed varied functions within the scope of the single window system.

However, upon assumption of office by the NPP government, a contract was awarded to Ghana Link to provide the UNIPASS platform that will replace the GCNET/WESTBLUE software.

A statement signed by the convener of the Mass Action Group, Atik Mohammed, however argued that the resultant UNIPASS Ghana that was created from the contractual engagement, is fraught with many technical and other challenges that have the propensity to give government a raw deal.

“And to that extent, we in the Mass Action Committee (MAC) are demanding of government to suspend the UNIPASS Ghana deal to allow for further due diligence and value for money analysis,” the statement said.
The group said if government allows the UNIPASS arrangement to stand, “it would be perilously gambling with our revenue mobilization efforts with a system that is not End-to- End, has no proven record of performance anywhere and more significantly, will be breeding a monopoly; which situation poses a danger to revenue generation”.

According to MAC, The UNIPASS software is far from being qualified as an End –to-End system because it does not include a manifest platform. “The Manifest Module constitutes the basic and first Customs Declaration Entry Point. Absent this Manifest Module, it is impossible to process any Declaration. This defect therefore belies the claim that, the Integrated Customs Management System ICUMS is an all-in-one customs management solution. It is important to state that, this obvious deficiency with the so called UNIPASS Ghana platform, arises in large part, from how the very software was developed,” it further explained.

Contrary to the agreement to engage the original CUPIA (Customs UNIPASS International Agency) of Korea, the UNIPASS Ghana software was built by some Koreans brought in by Ghana Link on UNIPASS KOREA’s technology. Although this technology was named UNIPASS Ghana by these Koreans, it is not the original UNIPASS software built by CUPIA. Indeed, their version appears very much like a carbon copy of WESTBLUE’s Declaration Platform.

“The non-End-to-End capability of the UNIPASS system was exposed during the trials in Aflao, Tema and Takoradi. The system failed abysmally. Subsequent to this failure, Ghana lost sixty six million Ghana Cedis (GHS 66,000,000.00) in the first two days of implementation. Thus, exposing the inability of the UNIPASS system to measure up to the standards of the GCNET Platform. It is also worthy of note that, given the irredeemable tragedy that was occasioned by the inefficiency of the system during the test runs, a reluctant re-adaptation of the manual system of clearing goods was resorted to at the Aflao Border and Takoradi Port,” the group pointed out.

Ghana I