The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) is calling on the government to strongly appeal to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and shipping lines to give unconditional waivers on demurrage and rent charges during the lockdown period.
In a statement, the Association complained that despite the lockdown affecting Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi, ultimately leading to the closure of their businesses, shipping lines which were exempted from the restrictions “are asking that since they are still working, our members whose goods have arrived at the ports should clear them or pay demurrage if the containers continue to remain at the ports during this lockdown period.”
“The Ghana Ports and Harbor Authority is also asking importers to clear their goods from their warehouses or pay further rent charges,” GUTA stressed.
This, GUTA said, has been very hard on them as the closure of its members’ businesses in adherence to the lockdown procedures has left many of them with little to no funds to pay the duties at the Ports.
According to the GUTA, despite persistent calls through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Shippers Authority to the GPHA and Shipping lines, their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“It is quite sad that to them it is business as usual while the importer, because of the national interest, is adhering to government’s directives so as to ensure that we all fight this very contagious pandemic together,” the statement read.
GUTA is, therefore, asking the government to waive the demurrage and rent charges unconditionally during this lockdown period so that their members are not forced to clear their goods and open their shops and warehouses to offload their goods.
“We will also advise that inspite of the fact that government agencies like GRA, GPHA etc. want revenue, they cannot put the lives of Ghanaians in danger so we ask that government orders that consignments that form part of essential goods only must be cleared while all others must be held on till the end of the lock down unless under special dispensation,” the statement concluded.