A coalition of civil society organisations has called on President Nana Akuffo-Addo to stop the Ghana Link/UNIPASS contract agreement with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. UNIPASS is a cross-border trade system designed by Customs UNIPASS International Agency of South Korea (CUPIA). It is deployed on behalf of the Ghanaian government under contract with CUPIA’s Ghanaian partner, Ghana Link Network Services.
In a statement by the coalition, they said, ‘[T]he UNIPASS deal is a total rip-off which w[ill] not serve the best interest of the country, and it is a serious affront to the trade facilitation arrangement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)’. The coalition added that ‘the port remain[s] a strategic asset of Ghana’s economy as far as trade facilitation, revenue mobilisation and job creation, among others, are concerned. We are confused [by] the irony in this whole decision especially because the government, in the last three years, has touted, in no small way, the massive revenue drive that these two existing vendors have helped achieve. In view of these and other facts, we hold the opinion that in a situation [where] the government decides to make changes in the port system’s IT Infrastructure, we as a country must do so with caution and try as much as possible to avoid disorder. We think that the trajectory on which we are riding now is not only chaotic but suicidal’.
Buttressing the coalition’s position, the Executive Director of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mensah Thompson, said, ‘[W]e are also dismayed as to why the Ministry of Trade and Industry which is supposed to be the frontrunner in the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which Ghana’s Parliament ratified and has given assent to under the previous government, signed a 10-year agreement with a 0.75 percent ad valorem fee, knowing very well that the WTO/TFA had outlawed [fee] structures such as these for the fact that they are not commensurate with actual work done’. Thompson maintained that the controversial deal could lead to revenue losses, administrative corruption and depletion of government holdings in the port system.
The members of the coalition are Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Good Governance and Advocacy Group Ghana (GGAGG) and Vanguard of Truth.
Source: Ghanaian Times
Photo source: Transaid