Graphic Business News

ASHFOAM cautions against patronage of used mattresses

By: Charles Benoni Okine
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The General Manager of the ASHFOAM Ghana, Mr George A. Massih, has cautioned the public against patronising used mattresses imported into the country.
The General Manager of the ASHFOAM Ghana, Mr George A. Massih, has cautioned the public against patronising used mattresses imported into the country.

The General Manager of the ASHFOAM Ghana, Mr George A. Massih, has cautioned the public against patronising used mattresses imported into the country.

According to him, apart from the fact that used mattresses have been duly banned from entering the country, there are also serious health implications associated with the use of such ‘unwholseome’ products.

Mr Massih gave the caution when the top executives of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and those of the Greater Accra regional branch, led by its president, Mr Affail Monney, paid a working visit to the company in Accra today.

“It is dangerous to patronise the used mattresses because some of them from brought from the morgues, hospitals where people die of communicable diseases among other things and, therefore, it is not the best”, he said.

According to him it was not for nothing that the government in its wisdom banned used mattresses from entering the country.

Impact on local market

Mr Massih said apart from the fact the local manufacturers of the mattresses lose some revenue to the illegally imported ones on the market, the situation also affected efforts to expand the businesses bigger to employ more people.

He wondered how the products found their way onto the markets when the authorities at the ports were supposed to prevent that.

“We the local manufacturers of the mattresses work hand in hand with the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to prevent the banned used mattresses from entering the markets but they somehow find their way there and are sold to unsuspecting members of the public”, he said.

Mr Massih described the situation as unfortunate and expressed the hope that the GRA will do more to prevent the banned products from entering the market.

Meanwhile, he said the company had different mattresses on the market affordably priced to me the pockets of the people.

Scheme exposed

A scheme comprising officers at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and rogue importers identified to be taking advantage of a lousy import ban on used mattresses to ship the product through the noses of law enforcers into the country.

Buoyed by the hot demand for the product and the high returns, the smugglers, mostly importers of cars and spare parts, have managed to develop strong ties with some custom officers, National Security officials and Ghana Port and Harbours Authority (GPHA) security officers to help make their activity conducive.

A GRAPHIC BUSINESS (GB) investigation uncovered that the Jubilee Terminal at the Tema Port has become porous and a safe haven for this illegality although the customs division says smuggling has mainly been made through undesignated entry points on the country’s borders, mainly inland.

As a result of the indulgence of the security officials in the smuggling syndicate, GB observed during the undercover investigation that, piles of mattresses arrive in shipping containers daily at the terminal and are subsequently cart away in mini trucks without any resistance from the security officials.

Beyond flouting the ban, the influx of the used mattresses through the Tema Port denies the country billions of Ghana Cedis in revenue, as importers are not charged any duties on the import of the banned product.

Commendation

Mr Massih commended the work of the GRAPHIC BUSINESS for exposing the rot and expressed the hope that it will serve as a deterrent for those planning to import more into the country.

However, he said the GRA needed to do more to stop this illegality.

The President of the GJA, Mr Monney pledged the commitment of the media in Ghana to help businesses in the country grow and indicated that journalists will continue to expose bad practices that affect genuine business operating in the country.