Denying State Millions Of Revenue; Frozen Foods Importers Cry Foul
White Stone Frozen Foods Limited and M&JEES Company, have monopolized the importation of frozen poultry and other frozen products market, as lower customs values are charged on its dealings, whilst higher values are slapped on its competitors by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Customs Division.
This has led to the country losing revenue running into several millions of cedis, while White Stone Frozen Foods Limited and M&JEES Company, retain huge profit to share among its contacts in government, Flagstaff House, GRA and the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The two heavy-importing companies, have been traced to a 52-year-old Tema-based business woman, Eunice Jacqueline Buah, who is elected as the Western Regional representative to the Council of State.
The powerful lady, said to be a top financier of the governing NPP, is also a board member of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA). She is said to have donated a whopping US$2 million to the Akufo-Addo 2016 campaign.
Indeed, several importers in the frozen food industry, complain they are gradually being left to lick their wounds as higher customs charges are thrown at them on the same product and tonnage as compared to Eunice Jacqueline Buah’s White Stone Frozen Foods Limited and M&JEES Company.
It has been reported that, the two companies are charged between $0.60 to 0.64 cents as customs value per kilogram on a Frozen Chicken Leg Quarters and a Chicken Back, goes for between $0.35 to 0.38 cents that is brought into the country, compared to its competitors being charged $0.90 cents to $1 dollar and $0.7 to 0.80 dollar cent per kilogram respectively on the same frozen items.
With the differentials in charges by the GRA customs division at the Tema Port, most importers of poultry and other frozen meat, are unable to clear their goods, giving only White Stone Frozen Foods Limited and its sister companies, the upper hand of clearing their goods as a result of the lower charges.
It is becoming increasingly clear that, those companies who are direct competitors are being chased out of business due to the influence of this powerful Council of State and a Board member of GPHA.
Sources further alleged that, this Council of State member popularly known as “LABIANCA” has supported the NPP through the first lady with a whooping 2 million US dollars.
The donation might have necessitated preferential charges by the customs officials at the Port.
Some customs officials, are also alleged to be on the payroll of this powerful Council of State member.
Kumasi-based Kessben FM reported that, their investigation, has revealed that, some officers are on her payroll, the reason is to set them against her competitors by frustrating them through unnecessary tagging of their consignments, which also affect them adversely.
According to Kessben FM, already, as a result of this tagging, such importers end up paying unnecessary port electricity charges, rent and demurrage.
They argued that, a government that was determined to encourage private sector participation and development, cannot allow this unfair system to exist, as it makes the other importers uncompetitive, leading eventually to the collapse of their entities and increase joblessness, which has already bedeviled this great country.
More to come!