Government set to abrogate the Contracts of West blue and GCNET

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…takes over ports with fears of disruption 

Even though the Ghana Business Development Review report published by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) revealed that the introduction of the national Single Window system has saved Ghana over $500 million since its implementation in 2016, government is set to abrogate the contract of the two companies operating it.

No more GCNet, West Blue in January
Beginning January 1, 2019, the Single Window system jointly operated by Ghana Community Network Limited (GCNet) and Customs World Dubai (West Blue) will be unplugged for a new system to be installed, with fears of its attendant disruptions.

UNIPASS takes over Single Window on January 1, 2019
In their place to provide same service will be South Korean company UNIPASS, which has been awarded a 10-year contract by the Government of Ghana under the Ministry of Trade to begin operations on January 1, 2019.

With two weeks more for the new company to take over, signs of deployment are not visible while the readiness of stakeholders who will use the system is also yet to be known.

Single Window improves trade facilitation
The Single Window system was introduced by the government to enhance trade facilitation at the ports and also increase government revenue at the various ports of entry.

Higher charges by new company

It is estimated that the takeover of Single Window operations from Customs World (West Blue Consulting) and GCNet will cost taxpayers more money.

UNIPASS to receive 0.75% fee (FOB) for 10 years
Ghana Link, with its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service, will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75% fee (FOB) per their 10-year contract with the Ministry of Trade.

UNIPASS could rake in $180m in 10 years
Using current import volumes, the total amount Ghanaian importers are likely to pay during the 10-year contract period hovers around $180 million, industry estimates suggest.

UNIPASS announces $40m contract sum
Meanwhile, UNIPASS said in a recent publication that the 10-year deal it has signed with Ghana to deploy its Single Window system at the country’s port would cost $40 million.

But according to industry estimates, this figure is considered extremely higher than what the existing vendors – West Blue and GCNet – are currently receiving as a fee.

GCNet, West Blue receive 0.68% fee (FOB)
West Blue Consulting, with its overseas partner, Customs World Dubai, currently earns 0.28% while GCNet earns 0.4 per cent.

Therefore, the two existing vendors providing Single Window operations in Ghana together are taking 0.68%, which is lower than the 0.75% UNIPASS will receive for its services.

West Blue, GCNet Systems
GCNet and West Blue Consulting, with its overseas partner, Customs World Dubai, are providing fully integrated trade facilitation and customs management system at the ports, which already incorporates all the modules that UNIPASS is being contracted to deploy at the ports.

The systems of the two companies have been fine-tuned to perfection and hundreds of hours spent training stakeholders on how to use it.

The unplugging of the current Single Window will derail gains made under the paperless port programme, of which the existing platform plays an important role.

Another challenge is the loss of revenue; the existing system has played a key role in increasing government’s revenue generated at the ports by blocking leakages and ensuring all revenues are accounted for.

24% rise in revenue in 2 years
The Ghana Business Development Review report published by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) also quoted figures from the Ghana Revenue Authority’s Customs Division’s Monthly Revenue performance, noting that the implementation of the Single Window system had increased government’s revenue significantly by 24 per cent over the past two years, rising from GH¢744 billion in 2015 to GH¢975 billion in 2017.

Source: Elvis DARKO || The Finder, Accra

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