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VENTURES AFRICA- West African land-locked nations in Ghana’s shipping communities have complained about the physical escort of goods in transit and the collection of unjustified fees, without receipt.
According to a petition signed by Mr Yaya Yedan, representative of the Burkina Shippers Council, and addressed to the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) and copied to the Commissioner, Customs division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and other stakeholders on 17th January 2014; “The simultaneous charging of transit infrastructural fees for the e-tracking and human escort fees is clearly abusive and does not conform to any known standard, in addition to the fact that it unnecessarily adds to the cost of doing business in the Ghanaian corridor.”
The communiqué pointed out that appointed Officer-in-Charge of the transit yard of the Tema Harbour has at his own discretion introduced the new measure, which took effect in November 2013.
“The measure, which adversely affects the entire transit trade has been introduced at the discretion of only one customs officer without any official notice to the GPHA, transit destination Shippers Councils’ represented at the Port, National Security and other port stakeholders”, Yedan said in the statement.
He also argued that the measure “reinforces the perception of unreliability and unpredictability of the Ghanaian corridor and therefore has the tendency to jeopardize the hard-won reputation of the Ghana ports and the tremendous efforts made by GPHA and other players, including the Ghana Custom Command, to attract transit trade.”
However, in reaction to the accusation, Ghana News Agency reported that Mrs Nunya Amedonoo, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Customs division of the GRA, Tema, said some selected commodities which are normally not sent to their destinations (diversion) are given escorts.
“Cloth, Cooking oil, Tomato paste, canned fish and Alcoholic beverages, which are prone to diversion by the shippers are accompanied by custom officers because the tracking system is not enough to stop such diversions.”
But Yedan said the shipping community hopes that the constituted authorities in charge will assist in eliminating this new non-tariff barrier (NTB) for improved efficiency of the Ghana corridor.
Nations affected by the unfavorable charges – Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger – rely on coastal countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Benin to export and import goods.