The Tema Sector Commander of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Dr Godfred Oko-Appiah, has appealed to striking freight forwarders at the Tema Port to call off the action.
Dr Okoh-Appiah made the appeal when he met with leadership of the Joint Committee of Freight Forwarders Association after members wore red bands and refused to pay duties to the GRA as part of their three-day strike action across the country.
This follows a one-week ultimatum to government and GRA to suspend the implementation of the Cargo Track Note (CTN) policy for broader consultations to address issues raised about it.
He said the action would have adverse effect on the clients of the Freight Forwarders saying ‘ go and see how disappointed some of your clients are, containers have been positioned and we don’t need to collapse the industry no matter what”.
“I will urge you with all respect to go back to the field and help your clients and clear the cargoes. I even met a man holding money who want to go to the bank to pay, but does not know what to do, “he added.
Dr Okoh-Appiah gave the assurance that management of the Tema Sector of Custom would take the issue up and help get to its logical end.
Mr Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah, President, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), responding to the plea, reminded the sector Commander that the strike was ongoing at all the entry points of the country.
Mr Ofosu-Appiah observed that the conversations around the issue was not helping as he pointed out that the GRA Custom Division Commissioner recently asked importers to pay the duties themselves when forwarders embark on the strike.
He further said government pretended to be hearing them when they met with them but nothing had been done about the issues raised.
He added that they were embarking on the exercise with clean minds as they were mindful of the legal, bureaucracies, and other cost elements associated with the implementation of the CTN as government of Ghana had no power to prevent freight forwarders from paying any charges.
The GIFF President disclosed that even though government claimed there was no cost associated with the CTN, there were five cost elements associated with it and therefore called for an extension of the frontier of the discussion on the bureaucracies attached to the policy.