Relevant stakeholders in the trade facilitation chain at the Tema Ports are frustrated as they continuously point out the evident lapses in the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system and the increasing nature of it that has disrupted the ease of doing business and resultant revenue loss to the state.
Importers are up in arms with government over impending demurrage charges that they would have to suffer because of the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system, the Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) has issued a press statement to express their shock at the continuous lapses on the new system, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) continue to point out daily lapses that has disrupted revenue flow, whistleblowers are raising red flags over how come the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system was able to clear a 2016 car for just an amount of GHC14 paid as duty charges.
GRA Confirms GH¢14 Was Paid As Duty For A 2016 Car
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in a statement to the media, confirmed that it is factual that a vehicle was cleared and the duties on it valued at GHC14 under the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system.
GRA, however, says it would not blame the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system but rather the blame should be placed on the clearing agent.
Strangely, GRA is completely silent on the several other instances where agents are in the news both on radio and on television saying that they have been given duty values far less than what they are to actually pay and that they are worried because if they go ahead and pay the duties that have been given them, they would have cheated the state and aided the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system to cause revenue loss.
Despite the public relation gimmicks and sweet-talks from government agencies, the incompetence of the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system continues to manifest on a daily basis making it a pain in the neck for the senior government ministers who guaranteed its supposed superiority that has turned to be a fallacy and an own goal against the Nana Akufo-Addo led government some six months to general elections.
GRA, in its statement in defence of the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system also confirmed that they have resorted to manual clearance but said it was justified because the former vendors did not provide some data that was needed in the format that data should have been provided.
Industry experts have however laughed off the reasons assigned by GRA and described it as ridiculous.
The challenges with manual clearance was why the government, relying on the West Blue and GCNet systems upgraded to a Ghana National Single Window done in a paperless ports system that made Ghana’s ports envy to the world.
Indeed it was one of the bragging choruses on the lips of Vice President Bawumia who has become curiously silent in the wake of the incompetent Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system.
Meanwhile, under the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system, Shipping Lines cannot release cargo from the platform and declarants cannot do manifest.
Some of the TIN are still not populating on the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system and there is delay at CBS, while Customs cannot accept or reject amendment requests.
In fact, it has been established that there are several errors in calculation and previous declarations from GICCS cannot populate on the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system when it is requested for further processing for suspense regimes.
Trade Minister Alan Kyerematen and his team were last week hooted at and booed shamefully when they attempted to talk to the frustrated importers to exercise some further patience for them.