The Chamber of Petroleum Consumers, Ghana, is predicting fuel shortages across the country if government fails to find a solution within the next 24 hours to the ongoing challenges with the migration onto the new customs system (UNIPASS) from the existing GCNet platform.
According to COPEC, the ongoing challenges with the migration is leading to a lot of challenges with petroleum lifting across depots in the country.
Government on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, started using a new single window system for the clearance of goods popularly known as UNIPASS; thus shutting down the old system operated by GCNet and Westblue.
But the new system has failed to take entries, thereby slowing activities at the ports and causing the state to lose some revenues.
In a statement issued by the Chamber, the Executive Director, Duncan Amoah, said, “a communique issued earlier on Wednesday from the NPA indicating a swift response to resolve the issue to enable the lifting seemed not to have yielded results as most Oil Marketing Companies and the LPGMCs had to make alternative arrangements to accommodate their drivers who had been dispatched to load products from the depots across the country.”
“Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and the Liquified Petroleum Gas Marketing Companies (LPGMCs) that had orders for supply of fuel to various outlets could not load a single litre of fuel all day on Wednesday, the 29th of April, due to discrepancies in the migration onto the new customs system (UNIPASS) at the depots,” the statement added.
COPEC says government should have rolled out the new system gradually side by side with the old system in order to help in facilitating a gradual phasing out of the existing system (GCNet).
“…But the seeming haste in abandoning the old system whiles the new system (UNIPASS) is not fully ready and integrated is clearly leading to discrepancies being witnessed and we wish for a speedy resolution to forestall any possible shortages across the country,” it added.
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.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, has already 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 official outdooring of the system at the country’s ports.
The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders has also predicted revenue losses if the concerns raised by stakeholders on the inefficiencies of the UNIPASS system are not addressed.