The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), has urged government to review aspects of the current law pertaining to fees charged at the ports as a result of delays in the clearance of goods to reduce cost.
Mr Edward Tetteh-Owusu Akrong, the President of (GIFF), who made the call, said the Legislative Instrument (LI 1315), 1985, which instituted such charges like the interest charge and state warehouse rent, in its current state, was outdated and served as an impediment to the growth of the industry.
He explained that over the years, there had been a number of initiatives at the country’s ports, including the introduction of the Inland Container Depots (ICDs), which allowed individuals and importing companies to store their cargoes with private individuals at a fee.
He, therefore, could not understand why importers should still pay interest charges and state warehouse rent on such goods, even though they were not kept in government facilities.
Mr Akrong was speaking at a seminar organised by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for some selected journalists in Accra on Wednesday.
The seminar was the seventh in a series organised by the GSA to empower media practitioners to improve their knowledge in current happenings within the trade and shipping sector.
Mr Akrong said: “This law, Legislative Instrument (LI 1315), was established in 1985. When this was instituted the idea was that if you put your goods in the port for a long time, because we wouldn’t have much space, you kind of clock the port and so to serve as a deterrent for those who wanted to leave their cargoes and don’t clear within four days, then they will have to pay.”
“But what we are saying is that there’s been a whole lot of introductions in our ports in recent years like the Inland Container Depots (ICDs). These ICDs, most of them are owned by private people and their business is also to hold your goods and let you pay rent or the space for which you are occupying. So why would we still have to pay interest charge on duties when these goods are not in the government facility,” he added.
Mr Akrong, therefore, called for the immediate review of such laws, which instituted such charges, to conform to the current situation at the ports to minimise burden on importers and enhance business and economic growth.
The seminar was held on the theme: “Contemporary Trends and Developments in Ghana’s Shipping Industry.”
Mr Seth K. Eshun, the Head of Supervision at the National Insurance Commission, urged importers to ensure that they insured their imported goods through local insurance companies to facilitate easy access to claims when the need arose.
He said out of an estimated value of GHC90 billion worth of import in 2019, only six per cent took insurance from local insurance companies.
He said the Commission was engaging other stakeholders, including the Ghana Revenue Authority and the GSA, to ensure that importers took insurance from local insurance companies before goods were cleared from the port.
Ms Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer of GSA, assured of a continuous collaboration with the relevant industry stakeholders to ensure the development of the sector.