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Adongo blames Osafo-Maafo for UNIPASS stumble

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Senior Minister

The minority spokesman on finance, Isaac Adongo, has insisted that the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, must take the blame for the trouble with the new UNIPASS system that has come into operation at Ghana’s ports.

The Senior Minister is responsible for ensuring that the UNIPASS contract serves Ghanaians better than the existing one, Adongo says.

Difficulty clearing cargo

Freight forwarders say they have incurred losses through challenges with the UNIPASS payment system.

This follows the system’s inability to deploy successfully to replace the existing software, operated by GCNet and West Blue.

This has led to difficulties in clearing and shipping cargo and caused many disputes at the ports.

The trouble surrounding the deal forced the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to write to GCNet to request its help in resolving the matter.

Deal “makes no financial sense”

Adongo, who doubles as the MP for Bolgatanga Central, believes the new deal does not make financial sense.

Speaking to reporters after Thursday’s proceedings in Parliament, he said it will be more expensive for Ghana to part ways with GCNet and West Blue.

The inability to push the UNIPASS deal through Parliament will also lead to a shortage of essentials because cargo cannot be cleared, says the MP. He accuses the Senior Minister of failing to do due diligence to ensure that Ghana was getting a good deal from UNIPASS, which is designed and owned by a Korean company.

“No test run”

“To introduce a new system, there are basic rules and protocols that one needs to follow.

“The first rule is that you need to test-run that system and so, at this point in time, government would have had the opportunity to be given a test run of the UNIPASS system. That has not happened,” Adongo says.

“. . . why the indecent haste to replace a working system, a system that has been proven to be one of the best in the world?” he asks. “A system that is ISO-certified, with a system that [one] has no knowledge about and a system that is not tried and tested?”

Importers call for compensation

Meanwhile, the Exporters and Importers Association of Ghana is calling for compensation from the government following the confusion surrounding the UNIPASS deal.

The president of the association, Sampson Awingobit, said Mr Osafo-Maafo was not properly informed at the time that he agreed to replace the GCNet system at the ports.

“The minister must absorb the two-day demurrage and rent charges that importers would incur,” Awingobit said.

“I will want to call on the government that this is the make of the government [sic] and the government through the Senior Minister should absorb this demurrage rent that has cost us,” he said.

E A Alanore

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