President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has cautioned that Ghana’s standing on the World Bank ease of doing business ranking would dip further if government goes ahead with the introduction of the controversial UNI-PASS single window system.
Currently, the single window system is being managed by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited, GCNet, as well as Customs World or West Blue Consulting.
The latest World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking shows that Ghana has dropped from 114 in 2019 to 118 in 2020.
Speaking on the ongoing debate about the introduction of the UNI-PASS system, Mr. Franklin Cudjoe said, aside from the new system costing government more, it has no proven track record, and will also not facilitate trade significantly.
“Since 2017, we’ve been plummeting on the rankings, and I think some of these factors are likely to deepen our woes on the rankings. I think there have been some monumental progress made, we do not need to roll back that progress. This system in all its entirety stands the chance of negating those gains.”
IMANI wants government to answer pertinent questions surrounding the impending introduction of the controversial UNI-PASS single window system, warning that it has the potential to erode the gains Ghana has made in the area of trade facilitation.
Currently, the single window system is being managed by the Ghana Community Network Services Limited, GCNet as well as Customs World or West Blue Consulting, an arrangement IMANI believes must be maintained.
The Single Window project, which was introduced by government to facilitate trade activities at the Tema port allows exporters and importers to process their transactions electronically.
The project was undertaken to strengthen the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, and eventually enhance revenue mobilization at the ports.
The single window project is aimed at coordinating all activities at the ports on one platform to reduce time and cost in clearing and exporting goods.
Proponents of the new UNI-PASS system however say it has the ability to help the government block revenue shortfalls at the customs division of the GRA.
But Franklin Cudjoe believes the gains made in trade facilitation will be eroded if the current managers of the system are replaced with UNI-PASS.
He further demanded that the promoters of UNI-PASS prove that their system is superior as against concerns of the high cost implications associated with the UNI-PASS system for both government and businesses.
Meanwhile, government has announced that the eventual roll out of UNI-PASS by middle of February, will see the launch of a new name for the platform altogether.