UNIPASS system is revenue loss to the country - Takoradi freight forwarders picket GRA

Some Freight Forwarders in Takoradi, Western Region, have picketed the Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) demanding a suspension of the UNIPASS payment system and a restoration of the GCNET system.

Takoradi Harbour

The Freight Forwarders is predicting revenue losses if the concerns raised by stakeholders on the inefficiencies of the UNIPASS system are not fully addressed.

They said the UNIPASS system is a disaster.

The UNIPASS system is expected to replace the single window platform being managed by GCNet and West Blue Consult at the ports.

The rollout of UNIPASS/ICUMS at the Takoradi port is creating a lot of unbearable problems for clearing agents and importers.

An importer, Henderson McCarthy, narrating his story said: "All we are saying is that if I have a machine that I’m working with and it takes me ten minutes to do a job and you bring me a new one and a better machine in this 21st Century but this machine is going to take me three hours to do the same job, then what are we talking about? Are you taking me back or into the future? The government has to take a look at this. We, the importers, and the clearing agents in Takoradi are not happy. It is taking us long to clear, it is taking us more time and more cost.

"And if you happen to clear a vehicle on this UNIPASS, you get to the licensing office and it is not even in their system. Our call on government is for the government to suspend this UNIPASS system and then they should make it better and come back.

"Let's use the GCNet because the government needs revenue and let’s give the government the revenue. Before they extended the UNIPASS to Tema, we had reported every problem happening here in Takoradi. So, Tema stood on those grounds and said ‘no, we don’t want it’, but unfortunately for us in Takoradi because of the quantum of goods coming here, they didn’t listen to us."

About UNIPASS/ICUMS system

The UNIPASS/ICUMS is a new port clearing system that processes documents and payments through one window: a departure from the previous system where valuation and classification and risk management and payment were handled by different entities.

CUPIA Korea, which is assisting the Customs Division to implement the UNIPASS system, has described it as an enhanced single window system for trade facilitation.

The company replaces the existing service providers, the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), which has operated for nearly 17 years, and West Blue Consulting which has also operated for five years. UNIPASS is expected to address key challenges at the ports.


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