The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), is predicting revenue losses if the concerns raised by stakeholders on the inefficiencies of the UNIPASS system are not addressed.
Some importers at the Takoradi port where the system was piloted however complained of challenges that let to delays in clearing their goods.
The President of the Institute, Edward Akrong, in an interview with Citi Business News warned that the delays associated with the piloting could cause serious problems at the Tema port if not checked before implementation.
“Any form of delay at all is revenue delayed because it takes a longer time to do evaluation and all that and classification of course, and it means I have held onto revenue that has to come to government as soon as possible. If there are delays in submission of manifests, then it means I cannot do declaration, I cannot pay pay duties, so that is revenue delayed. So, of course if these delays continue, if all these issues are not resolved it will have a serious effect on revenue collection” he said.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), earlier on Tuesday April 28, officially deployed the UNIPASS system at all the country’s frontier stations and ports of entry despite calls from many players in the sector questioning the efficacy of system.
Policy think-tank, IMANI Africa, recently 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.
According to the Policy think-tank, the apparent suspension of the contracts of West Blue and GCNET have brought to bear some crucial trade facilitation issues.
Uni-Pass, is expected to replace the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAARS), which was being performed by West Blue, and the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS), jointly operated by the Customs Division of the GRA and GCNet.
It is anticipated that the new system which is a public-private partnership between the government and the Ghana Link Network Services, in collaboration with the Customs Uni-Pass International Agency (CUPIA) of Korea would provide an unhindered international commerce through the country’s ports.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Revenue Authority has announced that, all new transactions in respect of import and export would be processed only through its new Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), effective June 1, 2020.
However, it stated that all existing transactions that began processing prior to May 31, 2020 that have not been completed in the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) shall be reprocessed through the new Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS).