Ghana loses GH₵100m port revenue – Minority

Ghana lost GH₵100 million at the ports in three days due to errors in the switch from port management system GCNET to UNIPASS.

Isaac Adongo, the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central and Minority Spokesperson on Finance who made the claim at a press briefing in Accra yesterday said the anomaly occurred from April 28 to 30 this year.

He said the revenue loss had continued till June causing huge financial loss to the country.

 “In Tema, no single end-to-end transaction has gone through since 1st June This is how the system will operate even after the backlog of Wes Blue/GCNET transactions are cleared at excessive revenue loss to the state,” he said.

He said, “No entry has been processed at the Elubo border for one week.  All revenue for the state for one week completely lost and entries are not going through at KIA and declarants are compelled to make payments against clearance to be corrected later.”

Mr Adongo alleged that “out of 750 clearing agents on the Wes Blue/GCNET system, only 450 are able to access the dysfunctional ICUMS with no end product. About 300 agents can’t access this bogus system”.

According to Minority Spokesperson following all protocols for a transition and conducting “a pilot would have cleared the way for a seamless transition from an end to end digital system to an end to end digital system”.

He said there was no need to replace the tried and tested GCNET and West Blue adding that the integration proved successful, resulting in government revenues consistently rising (except in 2019 when government reduced benchmark values at the ports) to the admiration of all governments.

The data he said showed that customs revenue generated through the system rose from GH₵7.5 billion in 2015 to about GH₵13.2 billion in 2018. This represented an accumulated growth in customs revenues between 2015 and 2018 of about 76 percent.

“Unsurprisingly, the system the two companies have put together has not had any system breaches since its inception. Indeed, the system’s robustness in the midst of expanded port operations has been remarkable as evidenced through the increased revenues delivered year-in-year-out,” he said.

In spite of these outstanding performances, he said GCNET and West Blue whose contracts were due to expire at the end of 2023 and 2020, respectively, were paid a combined fee of 0.54% of Free on Board (FOB) taking into consideration government’s 35% shares in GCNET.

“Now, after these years of sustained innovations, deliberate investments and visible improvements in the gains, the country is readying itself to throw away its best trade facilitation service providers for a company that neither has a track record nor a concrete, a defined, a professed or a self-procured system to work with,” he said.

Mr Adongo said the emergence of manual releases and clearing of cargo, manual warehousing of cargo, manual releases of export or transhipment cargo and engendering human interference in the clearing system was an attempt to abuse the port system.

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