The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Ms Benonita Bismarck has observed the high cost of doing business at the ports threatens the implementation of the paperless system championed by Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
She charged clearing agents and other clients at the ports to be alert for any illegal charges and fees they may be made to pay following the release of the fees and charges report. Madam Bismarck intimated that every fee charged must commiserate with service rendered.
She noted there’s need to harmonise laws so there’s no duplicity as one doesn’t have to pay double for same service.
She also submitted nearly US$24 million can be generated for the state if the transit trade system is well regulated and monitored noting it could bring revenue to Ghanaian local fuel stations, rest houses, hotels and the general economy.
Transit trade involves goods neither consumed in Ghana no subject to the payment of duties and taxes to the government. They are goods from foreign countries discharged into the ports by various port agencies, processed by customs, released and transported through Ghanaian territory to an exit point at the frontiers where such goods leave Ghana’s territory to an exit point.
Goods from Europe to the Tema Port can be discharged and taken to Burkina Faso, Niger or Mali but increasingly such goods are diverted into the local market through Kumasi and remote corners of Accra.
The GSA Chief Executive signed a Memorandum of Understanding with counterparts in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger for the unfettered use of the Ghana’s corridor for transit trade in hopes of eliminating bottlenecks in the transit trade.
Clearance steps have moved from 25 to about 15, with the foreign exchange rate fixed for one week, instead of the daily changes in the rates.
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) meanwhile is also taking steps to introduce reforms in streamlining the transit trade processes to avoid the diversion of goods through the payment of required duties and also provide reliable data on transit volumes for planning purposes.
Commissioner, Customs Division-GRA, Mr. Isaac Crentsil believes restriction in the number of Customs House Agents (CHAs) or freight forwarders who engage in transit trade operations would ensure their operations are effectively monitored.
By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com