The Deputy Trade Minister of Trade and Industry has advised Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet) not to fight against government over the Tema Port clearance system brouhaha.
Carlos Ahenkorah told Kojo Yankson, host of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Wednesday, that government only has the best interest of the nations’ development at heart and that GCNET, should move on.
“It is the prerogative of government to decide on the best way to maximise revenue for development.
“You are aware that people sometimes complain our roads are this, our roads are that, and all they want to see is government comes in to fix these things that they complain about.”
UNIPASS was introduced by the Akufo-Addo government to replace the single window platform – Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) – from GCNet and West Blue Consult at the ports.
Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) started using the system on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, amidst some technical challenges.
GRA said it is consulting with the management of GCNet for the restoration of the GCNet GCMS services while the challenges with UNIPASS are fixed.
UNIPASS which is expected to address key challenges at the ports also replaces the existing service providers, GCNet, which has operated for nearly 17 years, and West Blue Consulting.
The Deputy Minister said, “Government going through certain processes realise that the way revenue is collected is compromised and certainly, government has to find a way to adjust and realign the collection to meet its own expectations for its own maximisation.”
Mr Ahenkorah said that was exactly what the Akufo-Addo government did.
Illustrating the successes of introducing a new system to the operations at the ports, he stressed that “government is there to make the already existing better.“
“We did our analysis and we realised that these two systems (West Blue and GCNet) did not constitute what is called a single window, because each of them was performing a single-window function [at the port].”
“Meanwhile because these two systems are not on the same level with regards to licensing and security, they are not able to meet or configure each other and it creates loopholes.”
“So it was decided that we find a single window system that opens one frontend.”
“If you look at the current system that we have now, apart from these two companies we have, there are other vendors that have dropped in including CTN that came on board.”
“It tells you a certain story that, if you really want to have a seamless process is to identify the shortfalls of whatever systems you have and fix whatever loopholes,” the MP for Tema West constituency said.
GCNet has spoken out to say that they are capable of providing the entire single window despite the contention.
Although the Deputy Minister does not dispute their capabilities, he said, “but West Blue has also said the same thing.”
He added, “West Blue, the smallest of the two almost swallowed GCNet when they came in in 2015 and because of this they never got on and that is where the confederation misappropriation came in. The two were not talking to each other.”
“I am a GCNet person through and through, I am pioneer of the GCNet system and I can tell you what change and development GCNet represent in our revenue mobilisation in Ghana.
“But the fact is they sat down for a second player to come in who was stronger politically, not system-wise, than GCNet. GCNet didn’t play the political game for obvious reasons.
“When I was the President of the Freight Forwarders, I was always chastising GCNet, that they should move on. I’ve always said that GCNet is like Leyland truck with 12 gears, that has always driven on the third gear.”
“There is ballroom for improvement but they sat down for this to happen and you couldn’t also blame them because a government in power is also the one that determines what happens,” he added.