Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) Ghana Ltd has assured importers and their clearing agents that its new advanced cargo information system will not come with additional costs.
A Management Consultant, Mr Geoffrey Nyarko Cole, at a forum with members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders in Tema, said the planned introduction of CTN would not come at extra cost to the importer or the agents.
He stated that the new system would rather block the leakages in revenue collection at the ports.
CTN, also known as Loading Certificate, is an official marine document that contains information relating to the cargo and its movement between ports.
It was proposed to start on February 1, 2018 and scheduled to be piloted for two weeks, after which it will be mandatory for all shipments to Ghana to have a CTN number, without which cargo cannot be cleared at the destination.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, has appointed CTN Ghana Ltd as the sole representative for the implementation of CTN System to/from Ghana with the rest of the world.
Mr Cole explained that under the system, exporters would be required to provide detailed and timely information about their shipment in advance on a global online platform.
He said by adopting the CTN system, Ghana Customs would be seeking to modernise its operations to facilitate the movement of the legitimate trade in line with international best practices.
Mr Cole indicated that once implemented, the CTN would allow Ghana Customs and other stakeholders to commence the import review processes well in advance, resulting in several benefits.
He mentioned some of the measures to include generation of key prior shipment information in real time to effectively control, supervise and manage import traffic into Ghana, collation of reliable trade database to benchmark and protect government revenue in import duties and taxes, as well as plugging of identified loopholes and leakages in order to preserve the sanctity and integrity of customs valuation of goods and freight.
Despite the assurance that the service would come at no cost to the importer and clearing agents, members of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders kicked against the policy, stressing that Ghana Customs presently had a robust system in place to determine the valuation of goods.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the President of the Freight Forwarders Association, Mr Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, called for a relook at the new policy.
“We are saying that with Ghana ratifying the World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement, which allows any two customs entities to cooperate and exchange trade documents, why wouldn’t Ghana Customs increase capacity along these lines to be able to do this at no fee instead of the $100 to be charged by CTN Ghana per every 20-footer container?” he asked
The Special Advisor to the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr Christian Sottie, who was also present at the forum, called for further conversation on the issue in order to address all the concerns raised.
The management of CTN Ghana indicated that based on the reservation raised by the freight forwarders, they would engage in further stakeholders’ meetings to determine the way forward.