Freight forwarders are embarking on a strike today [August 27, 2018] to protest against the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) system at the ports.
The action has been necessitated by what the businesses say is the government’s failure to heed concerns on the policy which impedes trade facilitation.
The strike means that from today [August 27, 2018], there is not going to be any duty collection at the ports in Takoradi and Tema.
The business associations partaking in the action include; the Customs Brokers Association of Ghana, the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana, Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana and the Importers and exporters Association of Ghana as well as GUTA.
Strike triggered by unresolved concerns
The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah tells Citi Business News their action is to get a possible suspension of the CTN policy.
“We have asked certain questions, God being so good that Monday evening that is a week ago, we met the Deputy Minister of Finance and those questions were repeated there. Answers to them were not forthcoming. He asked that we give him a bit of time, but we told him that we have announced the timelines within which this action is going to manifest,” he noted.
He further explains that they are open to further consultation by the government to get their concerns addressed and possibly reduce the days for the strike.
“There are people in government who are listening, they are concerned. We want those people to know that they are not in the minority, we want those people to be assured that what they believe is wrong is wrong and we want other people who have not listened to our concerns to begin to gravitate towards us.”
The CTN requires importers to provide real time information on all consignments to Ghana to a global monitoring platform.
The cost which ranges between 100 and 200 dollars, is being borne by the GRA.
Shipping lines record low trade volumes
Already the Ship Owners and Agents Association has bemoaned the impact of the unresolved issues on the low volumes of cargo and revenue.
“If that becomes the case, it could affect even routing into Ghana so for instance, if your threshold into Ghana is about maybe a thousand or 300 boxes, and you get something like 50 boxes, maybe the beginning you might come,” the Executive Member of the Ship Owners and Agents Association, Adam Imoro Ayana told Citi Business News.
But the Commissioner of Customs of the GRA, Isaac Crentsil insists it will not back down on the policy as it works to reduce revenue leakages.