Concerns have been raised in the corridors of power over the circumstances under which Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, has announced he and his Ministry are lacing boots to sign yet another ‘Single Window’ contract with Ghana Link, a company belonging to his pal, Nick Danso through a soul sourcing deal.
Two Ghanaian companies, the Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) and West Blue Consult both have running contracts with the government of Ghana to operate the Ghana National Single Window project, a brilliant initiative which has culminated into the Paperless Ports system.
Even that, there have been concerns on whether GCNet and West Blue are not overlapping in their roles and whether there is no duplicity of functions in the Single Window operation.
It is therefore curious that Mr. Kyeremanten, under the auction of the Ministry of Trade and Industry would fancy the idea of giving out the same Single Window contract through selective tendering to the well-heeled Nick Danso; a man many believe would be a financial contributor if Mr. Kyeremanten decides to return to his presidential ambitions.
Nick Danso’s Ghana Link Network Services Limited was part of the Destination Inspection Companies that worked at the ports until the year 2015 when their contracts expired and were not renewed by government.
JUDGEMENT DEBT LOOMS
Signing a government of Ghana contract with GCNet and West Blue to run the Single Window project and then the same government turning around to sign a Single Window contract with another company would not only make Ghana become a laughing stock in the international business community but expose the government to potential legal suits just as happened with Bankswitch some years back.
But Mr. Kyeremanten and his Ministry seem unperturbed and have gone ahead to advertise their contract with Ghana Link in the papers as a form of UNIPASS technology.
The announcement says Ghana Link would be doing customs valuation and classification for enhanced revenue generation, scanning to end smuggling, risk management among other functions which are all already being done right here in Ghana by the two existing companies.
This would not only be a duplication of functions, but a clear way of giving government revenue to a company that would be doing a function already being done by other companies.
The Paperless Ports system took off early September and though it suffered teething challenges, the process seems to be taking shape and increasing government revenue according official figures.
All the systems and stakeholders have been integrated to facilitate trade and observers are curious why the Trade Ministry would want to truncate the new winning strategy and bring in a new player to make the process cumbersome.
It stands the risk of jeopardizing the Paperless Ports system that has blocked loopholes in government revenue and make Ghana a new envy in the sub region.