On a daily bases, theÂ New Patriotic PartyÂ (NPP)-led government suffers a growing public condemnation from groups and individuals whose businesses have been affected by the continuous incompetence of the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS platform that has disrupted trade facilitation and revenue generation.
The proven avenue for revenue loss caused by the new system, would be passed on to the general public and suffered on the hapless taxpayer.
Despite a well-planned media propaganda and face-saving machinery rolled out to make the new system look good in the eyes of the public, the faults and ineffectiveness are simply impossible to hide and it is now evident that the individuals in government who publicly pushed for the new system have stabbed the Nana Addo-led government in the back and caused a politically suicidal injury six months to general elections.
Ship Owners Frustrated
The Ship owners and Agents Association of Ghana, earlier this week, officially wrote to government in protest against the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS platform, pointing out the never-ending frustrations and disappointment it has brought to the ports.
â€œWe must put on record that our members spared no effort and offered their maximum cooperation during the transition period to ensure that there would be a workable system by the end of the roll-out of the system.
â€œUnfortunately, things have not gone as expected and as at date, we are unable to upload most of our files onto the system. We have therefore had to resort to manual uploading which happens to be a slow and laborious process.
â€œWith regards to the current situation, which has arisen through no fault of ours, members cannot be held liable for any delay or inconvenience that must be borne by consignees,â€ a statement signed by the Associationâ€™s Executive Secretary, Perpetua Osei-Bonsu on Monday, June 8, noted.
ICUMS Has Not Raised GHC177M Ports Revenue
It has also proven to be false a public claim that ICUMS has raked in an amount of GHC177 million in ports revenue within one week, despite its scary under-declarations and faulty system.
The companyâ€™s spokesperson on Monday confirmed to TV3 that the said figure of GHC177 million included the of the countryâ€™s refined oil imports and not JUST PORT REVENUES as the public has been deluded to believe.
Revenue Loss Now Normal
It is insane to note that while the country is in critical need of revenue, the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system is actually asking agents to pay lower duties than they actually should.
A clearing agent, for instance, was on TV3 business news saying that she had to pay takes to the tune of GHC11,600 for clearing a car but the new system is asking her to pay just GHC6,500 and all attempts by the patriotic agent to get the Authorities to work out the correct figures for her has proved futile.
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.
Alan Cash Booed Away
The situation is nasty and messy to an extent that Trade Minister Alan Kyeremanten and his team were last week hooted at and booed shamefully when they attempted to talk to the frustrated importers and agents to exercise some further patience for the failed Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system.
It was the same Alan Kyeremanten whose Trade Ministry signed the ten-year sole sourced contract with Ghana Link to rollout this UNIPASS system.