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Dissolve Taskforce At Ports…Check Bias Treatment – Concerned Local Importers Cry   
 
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22-Jun-2013  
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A group calling itself “Concerned Local Importers (CLI)” wants President John Dramani Mahama to dissolve the task force introduced at the various ports as a means of checking graft, accusing the taskforce team of rather perpetuating corruption; aside “causing unnecessary delays and making the process of clearing goods not only cumbersome, but frustrating”.

In a statement issued by the Chairperson of the association, Paulina Amoah, the CLI expressed displeasure at the treatment meted out to them at the ports and threatened "to relocate to Togo to clear our goods and do business” over there if the situation is not immediately resolved.

The CLI also accused the taskforce of open bias because of their status as local importers whiles giving preferential treatment to expatriates.

“Though the expatriates are only to engage in wholesale, they have also started engaging in retailing which is the sole mandate of the local retailer. The situation is seriously affecting us.
More so the expatriates have been given so much privilege to operate to the detriment of the local importer. They have been allowed to establish large warehouses where their goods are kept as they go about processing document to completely settle their duty thereby spending less time in clearing their goods…We are pleading with the government to check the harassment we face in clearing our goods at the Ports and possibly give the local importer some privileges over expatriates to support building local capacity,” the Concerned Local Importers said.


Below is a copy of the statement issued by the group.


PRESS RELEASE:
We the Concerned Local Importers are displeased with the treatment meted out to us at the Ports particularly in clearing our Cargo.

We are concerned about the introduction of the task force at the port; making the process not only cumbersome, but frustrating and adding to the corruption of the system.

Although government has explained that the rationale of the task force is to check corruption, our experience shows the contrary.

Another issue is the disparity between the values given by the Destination Inspection Companies and that of CEPS. We have noticed that CEPS forces higher values of goods on us in order to meet their revenue target. However, unfortunately this also increases our cost and virtually putting us out of business, as we are unable to pay back the already high interest rate bank loans.

As if the above listed challenges are not enough, importers and agents have to queue for as long as five days or more to get access to the scanner because, the scanners often develop faults due to pressure since it scans more than the expected 20 containers daily.

These delays are affecting our business and making it difficult for us to pay the bank loans on time though already the depreciating cedi is resulting in huge loses; further affection our operations.

At the preventive checks centre then to the National Security then to GPHA for security checks also takes about 10 days before they are able to completely clear our goods.

After all these, we have to offload the goods on our way to the destination since the taskforce instituted by the President would also have to inspect the goods for verification. All these are gravely hampering our smooth operations.
Concerned Importers of Poultry Products © Copyright Reserved

We are hereby pleading with the Government to help us to make the processes much flexible else we will be forced to relocate to Togo to clear our goods and do business. And our operations are likely to affect the revenue generation of the State and will go a long way to affect the nation’s development. We the importers are also confronted with ill-disposed treatment by officials at the Ports as local importers and expatriates have been allowed to operate freely in the Country. Though the expatriates are only to engage in wholesale, they have also started engaging in retailing which is the sole mandate of the local retailer. The situation is seriously affecting us.

More so the expatriates have been given so much privilege to operate to the detriment of the local importer. They have been allowed to establish large warehouses where their goods are kept as they go about processing document to completely settle their duty thereby spending less time in clearing their goods. In addition when the goods are conveyed to the so called warehouses, that is where the Customs Officers go to scan the consignments. Because we do not have such warehouses, we spend more days in the queue to have our goods scanned.

We are pleading with the government to check the harassment we face in clearing our goods at the Ports and possibly give the local importer some privileges over expatriates to support building local capacity.

It is unfortunate that whereas the expatriates are to be stationed in Tema they have relocated to various parts of the Country retailing their goods; against the law of the sector.

Finally, we are appealing to President John Dramani Mahama to dissolve the task force as they are rather causing unnecessary delays and rather constitute a committee made up of all stakeholders, to recommend solutions to resolving the corruption challenges affecting revenue levels.

.....Signed.....



Paulina Amoah.
(Chairperson)


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Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana
 
 

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