The much-anticipated rollout of the UNIPASS single window system at the country’s ports could not come off as expected at Elubo in the Western Region as freight forwarders are now being asked to present their names for training on the new system.
The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders had warned the government against a major setback in clearing activities at the Elubo and Aflao borders without the necessary training for the relevant stakeholders.
President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Edward Akrong, told Citi Business News, the implementation of the new system at Elubo has been put on hold.
“I got a call from my Chairman in Elubo that they are being asked to submit names for training to begin on Tuesday…The names of freight forwarders, the names of those who are going to operate the system. It is enough to tell you that I was telling you the truth. That nothing of that sort has been done, So, to say this was going to start on March 1 is a no go area. As we speak, they are using the GCNet and West Blue system,” he said.
GRA Customs defends UNIPASS
The Commissioner of Customs, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd) in an earlier interview with Citi Business News allayed fears over possible judgment debt to be pursued by GCNet and West Blue.
“Unless it is an express provision in the contract that while this contract is existing, under no circumstances and in most cases in such types of issues, you then have legal arguments to make. You try as much as possible to be equitable and fair to parties. You do not fetter my ability to disengage from something that is inimical to my interest.”
A directive by the Senior Minister further had indicated that system user materials and audio-video training materials would be dispatched to members of the freight forwarders groups at the points where the system will be rolled out from Sunday, March 1, 2020.
For businesses operating at the ports, UNIPASS may interfere with trade facilitation processes as it will add to their cost of operation.
For instance, the trade facilitation fee of 0.75% initially set is higher than that of GCNet and West Blue altogether at 0.68%.