It will take CUPIA of Korea Customs Service, which is to operate a new port clearance system, over two years to develop and implement a new single window system in Ghana.
A statement published on its website on July 5, 2018 reads: “CUPIA has signed a US$40million deal with Ghana Link to export an electronic Customs clearance system to the African country. Under the deal, our electronic Customs clearance system (‘UNI-PASS’) will be provided to the Ghana government.
“The project is planned to take 25 months and will mainly focus on developing main modules of the Customs clearance system: such as Customs clearance, cargo management and risk management etc. CUPIA will be responsible for development and implementation of the e-Customs system.”
Even though the company has said it will take more than two years to develop and roll-out its system in Ghana, Uni-Pass was scheduled to deploy its new system on January 1, 2019.
The question many stakeholders are asking is what system will Uni-Pass operate at the country’s ports when their own system is not ready.
Others are also asking why the Ministry of Trade would sign a new 10-year single window contract with another company when the existing National Single Window is functional and meets the needs of operators and importers.
It will be recalled that On March 29, 2018, the Ministry of Trade and Industry signed a 10-year sole sourced contract with Ghana Link Network Service Limited and its overseas partner, CUPIA Koria Customs Service, to take over the Ghana National Single Window with a newly-built customised superior system.
Even though the single window takeover would cost the taxpayer more money, the Ministry of Trade went ahead to seal the deal.
Ghana Link with its overseas partners, CUPIA Korea Customs Service will provide the trade facilitation and Customs Management System at a 0.75 percent fee (FOB) per their 10-year sole sourced contract with the Ministry of Trade.
This means that Ghanaian importers will be paying about US$180million for the UNIPASS system at the end of the company’s 10-year contract with Ghana, based on the current import volumes.
This figure is far higher than what the existing vendors, West Blue and GCNet, are currently receiving as a fee.
UNIPASS Deal Suspended
Meanwhile, the Economic Management Team (EMT) on December 18, 2018 directed the Ministry of Trade and Industry to suspend the single window system takeover by CUPIA of Korea Customs Service (UNIPASS) and Ghana Link Network Service Limited.
The decision was communicated to the Ministries of Trade and Finance to ensure that issues regarding the takeover of operations at the country’s ports are addressed.