Freight forwarders protest against new UNIPAS platform in Takoradi
Freight forwarders in Takoradi, on Thursday, picketed at the Takoradi Port over failure of the UNI-PASS system to facilitate the smooth clearance of goods.
The inefficiency has compelled the re-adaptation of the manual system of clearing goods, a process considered obsolete and abandoned close to two decades ago by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
This situation has come about following the attempt by the Government of Ghana to abrogate an existing contract with GC-NET for that of UNIPASS.
According to the agitating clearing agents, they are in a state of confusion, because a system that is migrating from electronic to electronic should not pose any major challenge like migrating from the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to electronic.
They went on that their expectations were that the UNIPASS was going to be an improvement on the GC-NET and not the opposite, to the extent of re-introducing the manual at the time the system is operating paperless for the clearing of goods.
The Chronicle, during its independent investigation, came face-to-face with some of the teething challenges the system has locked horns with from the onset.
The Chronicle understands that from the onset of the icon of UNIPASS in Takoradi, the submission of manifests by the shipping lines has not been operational, as delivery orders are not going through it.
Industry players are of the view that since the UNIPASS system is a novelty in Ghana and had never been tested before, there was the need to embark on gradual migration by way of piloting before its full implementation.
They noted that though assurances were given that both the UNIPASS and GCNET would work hand-in-hand until the former’s system is perfected, over 90 percent of the declarations passed by the shipping lines in Takoradi go through the UNIPASS, which is proving difficult to operate.