An announcement that the Nana Akufo-Addo led government has awarded a 10-year contract, through sole-sourcing, to Nick Danso’s Ghana Link and its overseas partner, CUPIA of Korea Customs to engage in yet another single window arrangement at Ghana’s ports has raised eyebrows among stakeholders and sparked some diplomatic discomfiture for the country.
The contract, awarded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to Nick Danso and his Korean partners, is for the provision of a fully integrated trade facilitation management system known as UNIPASS at the ports.
The new contract, to Nick Danso’s Ghana Link was awarded at a cost of 0.75 percent of final invoice, way higher than the charges of the two existing companies currently doing same trade facilitation at the ports.
The Trade Ministry awarded the trade facilitation contract exactly six months after President Nana Akufo-Addo and his vice, Dr. Bawumia, officially received a delegation from Customs World, led by His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem of Dubai and announced that the Dubai company was injecting an initial investment of about $10 million into its trade facilitation and single window operations at Ghana’s ports as far as the paperless ports agenda is concerned.
The UNIPASS contract has raised a lot of concerns at the ports and stakeholders are yet to understand why the Trade Ministry would want to tamper with the current situation that has Vice President Bawumia integrating the platforms of existing companies operating single winder systems at the ports for the smooth paperless ports scheme and trade facilitation.
A crucial question that has somehow made a mockery of the government of Ghana is the fact that the new contract would be charging 0.75 percent whereas the two existing companies that have operated single window and trade facilitation at the ports over the years are charging drastically lower figures.
It is embarrassing that while government has publicly said it is committed to reducing the cost and time of doing business at the ports so as to make Ghana’s ports a top destination for trade transactions, the gains made in that regard could be tampered with, with the introduction of this new company that contracted to do what has been described as a duplication of roles being done by existing companies.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Trade, within the last year, has cooperated beautifully with the existing single window operators at the ports to drastically reduce leakages in government revenue through under clearing and under invoicing.
DAYBREAK is compiling a dossier on the faces, names and intra party interests pushing the UNIPASS agenda.