By Ethel Mensah (Tema)
Concern Freight Forwarders, Customs House Agents and the Business Community, have expressed their frustration over a new process, introduced by the Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), which in their estimation, will add to the increasing cost of shipping and clearing in the Ports of Ghana.
According to them, the “Advance Shipping Information is bogus, thus will increase the burden of cost and delay in the clearance processes to importers, exporters, and consumers.
The group, however, is of the greatest view that should the GSA go ahead and implement the new process, shippers will increase every cost they may incur and pass it onto the importer, who will also in turn pass it on to the final consumer.
Secondly, importers might be forced to channel their imports through neighboring countries and clear them by land.
Beside “Our harbor will be deserted, which will result in revenue loss to the nation and a lot of jobs losses to a country who is already fighting unemployment”, they contend.
In a press conference organized by the group, the Chairman for the group, Mr. Dennis Amfo Sefah, said that the benefits envisaged by the GSA are non-factual and that the move by GSA is a ploy to amass wealth and add more cost dimensions to the cost of doing business in Ghana.
Again, Ghana has not adopted a pre-clearance system and even if that happens, it would not be initiated by the GSA.
Mr. Dennis Amfo continued that, the destination inspection companies are performing the same duties as the GSA is purporting to embark on, hence documents of import are always sent to the Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) for issuance of valuation certificates (FCVR).
He stated that, “All the countries mentioned by the GSA as practicing Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) have so many challenges and are operating on different platforms, adding that most of these countries, do not operate destination inspection, as well as the GCNET system.
He further stated that the exorbitant ASHI charges, would add to the already high cost of doing business in the country, adding that, that will be a repetition of processes which are already in existence.
“GSA is making a lot of money from the imports and export at the ports of Tema, Takoradi, KIA, Aflao and Paga, among other places for no work done”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Executive secretary for the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Awringobet Sampson Asackey, hassled that on March 4, the country will be shut down by making sure that “No agent pays any levy” to their goods.
He, however, declares two days for not paying taxes to the government.