Single window: ICUMS is Ghana’s best bet – Ghana Link

Ghana Link Network Services, the company spearheading the deployment of the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), says the new electronic customs management system is Ghana’s best bet in deploying end-to-end single window.  

It said ICUMS, which is the name of the Ghana version of Universal Pass (UNI-PASS), built by Korea Customs, is a new all-in-one customs management solution owned by government.

Ghana Link Network Services Limited, which has a 10-year contract with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, partnered Korea Customs to introduce UNI-PASS in Ghana.

Public Relations Manager of Ghana Link Network Services Limited, Norvan Acquah-Hayford, in a statement, said over the period many questions have been raised, and Ghana Link wants to use this opportunity to answer some of the questions.

He stated that ICUMS is live at Ghana’s boarders and at the Takoradi Port while waiting to deploy at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and Tema Port.

Is the $93 million abrogation term in the UNI-PASS deal a sustainable and advantageous investment worth taking?

First, to define TVM, the time value of money (TVM) is the concept that money you have now is worth more than the identical sum in the future due to its potential earning capacity.

This core principle of finance holds that provided money can earn interest, any amount of money is worth more the sooner it is received.

Having said this, assuming $40 million was the principal that was invested in this contract, and bearing in mind that contract was signed almost two years ago, we all will admit that if this money was invested elsewhere, it would have earned some interest now.

Also, it’s important to note that the contract implementation cost has not been stated there, but Ghana Link has spent money in implementing the project.

I’m sure by now you understand that the US$93 million abrogation term in the UNI-PASS deal is indeed a sustainable and advantageous investment worth taking by the government.

This is because we must direct our minds to damages that must be paid if a contract ought to be abrogated.

The net cash flow expected during the period of the contract is calculated at the time of termination, and that is what one must pay for.

Is the UNI-PASS deal expensive than the existing vendors?

VendorsCost +Insurance +Freight CIFFree On Board FOB
West Blue - CCVR0.28%0.32% (0.28% * 1.15)
SML Fees – External Price Verification Fees0.17%0.195% (0.17% * 1.15)
GCNET0.40%
Total Fees Charged by West Blue, SML and GCNET0.92%
UNIPASS Fees0.75%

The above table gives you an idea of the cost to the government, comparing the vendors providing the trade facilitation. It is important to note that with UNI-PASS or the ICUMS, the government gets to save about 0.17% on FOB.

Another question that has come up is: if such an investment is even considered worth taking, why have the top government officials widely speculated by the media to have pushed the UNI-PASS deal through failing to educate stakeholders at the Ghana ports on the importance of rolling out such a deal?  

I’m sure we have heard many times, including some interviews I even conducted when I was in mainstream media, that education has been done several times.

All stakeholders, including freight forwarders and importers, have been trained, and training is still ongoing.

It’s untrue to say we have failed to educate stakeholders at the Ghana ports on the importance of rolling out such a deal.

But let me state here and now that training is not an event, but a continuous process which we will continue to do for the freight forwarders and all other stakeholders even after full rollout.

But the question one may ask is: we speak of single window at the ports; can we say we have that now?

Yes, we do, with the introduction of the ICUMS.  The Government of Ghana, in its commitment to ensure value for money and end-to-end single window system, signed an agreement with Korea Customs, through its partners here in Ghana, Ghana Link Network Services Limited, to deploy ICUMS/UNI-PASS (a single entry), i.e. UNI (Unified, Universal or Unique), PASS (to clear fast and offer efficient service) that serves all purposes in trade (goods) and travels (passengers).

It is a modern and world-class technology acknowledged by international bodies such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Customs Organization (WCO), The World Bank, and World Economic Forum (WEF), which is used to facilitate trade, ensure supply chain security and increase revenue.

UNI-PASS is the only technology in the area of trade facilitation, security/safety and revenue mobilization developed by a customs agency aimed at solving customs and trade-related issues. Hence, it is a tailor-measured technology.

Why has UNI-PASS failed immensely in piloting such a system?