The Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), has said the recent 12.5-kg cocaine haul through the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) by lady courier, Nayele Ametefeh, who was busted at London’s Heathrow Airport, is having a spillover effect on their operations, due to heightened security at the Airport.
Vice President of FAGE, Marjorie Abdin, told Accra-based STARR FM in an interview that the current inspection regime introduced at the airport – as a result of the cocaine saga – is making it difficult for local Exporters to meet the quality standards set by the importing countries.
“People at the Airport throw their produce on the ground and you have NACOB [Narcotics Control Board officials] having their dogs sniffing these products and fresh produce. You don’t know whether the dogs are dropping their saliva on it, or there are dog hairs on it. Immediately you undermine the integrity of the produce,” Abdin explained.
In the exports sector, Abdin noted that “the specifications are so stringent.”
“They even specify how it should be packaged. The type of boxes you use, the condition in which the boxes should be, and yet when you unpack and you pack at KIA, obviously the boxes are not in the condition that they were in originally and therefore the produce gets to the importing country and they raise a red flag,” she complained.
The Association is, therefore, calling for a review of inspection procedures at the Airport.
“If the handling agencies at KIA understood the importance of exports, this would not happen. And if Government as a whole, really does believe that exports is the way to go to solve most of our major issues with balance of payment, I think our whole approach to the export sector would change.”
Ametefeh, is currently in the custody of UK authorities awaiting sentencing on January 5, 2015.
She has refused to name her accomplices and claimed she thought she was trafficking gold, rather than cocaine.