UNI-PASS brouhaha: Extend shutdown period for GCNET – GIFF appeals to govt


Executive member of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwaku Okyere Darko has called on the government to extend the one-month transition period for GCNET to hand over operations to UNIPASS.

The Ghana Community Service Network Limited (GCNET), an information technology firm that transformed port clearing in the country for about 17 years, is expected to shut down operations in May this year.

The shutdown also goes for West Blue Consulting and it is to give way for a full rollout of the new customs clearing system, UNIPASS.

According to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the UNIPASS would centralise the processing and handling of all import and export documentation, a system known as a single-window clearing system.

But in sharp riposte to the government, Mr. Okyere Darko stated that instructing GCNET to cease operations in May will create further problems and interrupt the paperless system at the port.

He explained that the government is dealing with users of GCNET comprising importers, exporters, logistics companies and clearing agents among other stakeholders at the port; hence the implementation of UNIPASS should be a gradual process.

”We’re not building the system for Angels. We’re building the system for humans…If importers become bankrupt, clearing agents will also go bankrupt”, he stressed.

He disclosed that with the GCNET system, importers are given the option to appeal in an instance where an error is made during the clearing process; an opportunity that the UNIPASS does not offer to users because it gives only two options which are to either accept or object validation of import and export documents.

This, he believed, could create major issues between the service provider and its users.

”In the unlikely event of objecting and you make a mistake to accept, how do you revert?” he questioned.

Speaking on Thursday’s ”Kokrokoo” on ”Peace FM”, Dr. Okyere Darko advised the government to give GCNET more time to prepare for the shutdown to address challenges that may arise in the future.

”The one-month transition period for GCNET is short…If it must be done, it must be done right…Make sure the terminal operators are hooked on. DVLA are hooked on in respect of clearance of vehicles…Freight Forwarders must be well trained and all other fundamentals should be set right before termination of their contract,” he pleaded