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The UNIPASS system: All you need to know about this new port single window collector

Yesterday, April 28, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) started the official use of a new revenue collecting system for ports across the country.

UNIPASS at Tema Port

This new system, the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), but popularly called UNIPASS, has however, generated a lot of controversies on its implementation.

Some freight forwarders and importers at the nation's two biggest ports, the Tema Harbour and the Takoradi Harbour have criticized this new system.

According to them, it's fraught with challenges that will bring revenue losses to the country as compared to the current West Blue-GCNet system at the country’s borders and ports.

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The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has also kicked against the UNIPASS single window system.

The NDC said there is no need to do away with GCNet and Westblue at the ports when they have demonstrated superior ability over the years.

They argue that UNIPASS has no track record and the required competence to execute the work at hand.

However, in a statement announcing the commencement of the system, the acting Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah said the UNIPASS will be used alongside the GCNet system till the 31st May when UNIPASS will then be the solitary system that will be used across the country.

What's the UNIPASS system?

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UNIPASS is an electronic customs clearance system developed by the Korea Customs Service (KCS).

It computerizes Customs procedures and provides for the automation of the clearance process, as a solution to overcome the increase in trade volume and travelers, given the limited resources available.

UNIPASS is composed of 77 modules and has five subordinate systems: a Single Window (SW) system; a clearance management system; a cargo management system; an information management system; and an administration system.

The system provides a paperless working environment for all Customs clearance procedures. Export clearances that used to take more than one day now take 1.5 minutes, and the time taken to process import clearances has been reduced from more than two days to 1.5 hours.

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The system collects Bills of Lading from shipping companies, airlines, and forwarders, and assigns a cargo tracking number to each consignment. The Cargo Management System is connected to delivery companies, warehouses, and other private entities moving goods.

Benefits of UNIPASS to revenue collection by government

According to the Raymond Amaglo, Operations Manager for Ghana Link Network Services Limited, local partners of Korean Customs Services, UNIPASS will block all revenue leakages at the port.

Revenue collection at Ghanaian ports is estimated to be below 60%, therefore the implementation of UNIPASS will solve this low figure.

Also with UNIPASS, all cargo movements are traced, eliminating the possibility of cargos or goods being lost.

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It tracks the movement of all cargos in the system using the cargo’s unique reference number, also there is the HR management model that shows which officer worked on what cargo and at what time so that if for any reason a cargo or some goods get lost, one would not have to look too far to locate the person responsible for it.

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