The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has asked government to quickly resolve the challenges that have confronted the roll out of the Ghana Revenue Authority’s, new Integrated Customs Management Systems, (ICUMS), also known as UNIPASS.
According to them, the current problems associated with the system which are causing delay, is pushing them to pay more for demurrage and rent, a cost they cannot bear.
Speaking to Univers Business, National Welfare Officer of GUTA, Benjamin Yeboah asked government to reintroduce GCNET to work concurrently with UNIIPAS by way of ensuring a smooth transition to the new system.
“This is not the first time the system is coming on board. So the question is that we never learn? Like we said, any delay translates into cost and cost is mostly borne by the importer which is no fault of ours for such problems. And therefore we don’t see it as a good thing. So whatever it is, they (government) should ensure that you have an old one and the new one running concurrently to ensure a smooth transition,” he said
Also Mr. Yeboah indicated that government would have to look at bearing the cost of demurrages and rent associated with the challenges of the new UNIPASS system.
“We will not sit down for our members to continue piling up debt. Otherwise we would have to think through with our members and we will ask government to look at those charges because it is not our doing to be incurring cost,” he stated
In a statement issued earlier today by the President of, Dr. Joseph Obeng, stated that, “prior to the introduction of the UNIPASS system, we were briefed on the efficiency that the new system would bring to bear on the clearing process at the ports. It is therefore a surprise to us that the system is fraught with challenges that cause delay, which eventually costs the importer, in terms of demurrage and rent charges.”
The UNIPASS/ICUMS system
The UNIPASS/ICUMS platform 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 which is expected to address key challenges at the ports also replaces the existing service providers, the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), which has operated for nearly 17 years, and West Blue Consulting.
Rejection of UNIPASS
Following the introduction of the system, there has been strong opposition from various stakeholders within the logistics space and other civil society organisations on the need to stick with the existing single window in order not to severely disrupt trade and revenue flows.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, earlier this month petitioned government to temporarily suspend the operations of UNI-PASS and allow GCNET and West Blue to operate for the remainder of the year to rake in revenue in
excess of GHS10 billion for the country considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade activities.
Also, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders questioned the efficacy of system hours to the officially outdooring of the system at the country’s ports.
Critics of the UNIPASS have also cited the presumed distortions that the new system will bring to the shipping community; a claim rejected by the managers of the platform.
Story by: Nicholas Brown | universnewsroom.com with additional information from citinewsroom.com