The official commencement of the cargo tracking note (CTN) at the country’s ports was greeted with mixed reactions at the Tema Port on Monday following the cost implication of the module to importers.
While some contend that the implementation of the CTN will amount to delays and, therefore, escalate the cost of operations at the port, others described the module as a possible solution to the various trade malpractices facing the country.
The CTN being championed by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), if implemented, is expected to enhance the security functions of government, generate real-time information and statistics, revenue collection and trade facilitation at the international scene.
The policy which was earlier mooted in January this year and was piloted from July 1, 2018 was suspended in August following agitation by traders in the country.
The acting Chairman of the Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, Mr Clement Boateng, on October 15, 2018 in Accra, indicated that the Ghana Union of Trader Association (GUTA) had petitioned the Ministry of Finance to exempt its members from the new module.
While awaiting response from MoF, Mr Boateng said GUTA would not abide by the new module until the government came clear with modalities on it.
The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, described the development as a “monumental display of bad faith.”
“This is a monumental display of bad faith. We had a committee of the joint business consultative forum made up of associations and trade associations on one side and the GRA as the implementer on another side.
“Initially, we expressed our hunch about the structure of the committee because we thought that there was going to be an arbiter who will advise the presidency,” he said.
He added, “We had about five meetings, and the structure of the meeting was just questions and answers. The roadmap was that all these issues we raised were going to be presented to the President so that a forum would be created for the answers to be exact.”
Meanwhile, a freight forwarder, Mr John Kwame Adu Jack, has dragged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Commissioner-General, GRA and CTN Ghana Limited to court for a declaration that the introduction and implementation of the CTN policy is illegal, unconstitutional and in breach of provisions in trade agreement.
The plaintiff is seeking a perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants and agents from implementing the CTN in its current form.
Costs and any other order the court might deem fit are also being sought by the plaintiff who filed the suit at 2:53 p.m. on October 12, 2018.
A lawyer based in Tema, Mr James Enu, filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiff.
A case for CTN
But some players in the shipping business that spoke to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the Tema Port on October 15, the day of implementation, stated that they were convinced that a proper implementation of the system would help reduce the menace of under-invoicing and valuation, misdescription and the general flooding of the economy with cheap imports – the very challenges that had long undermined the fortunes of domestic manufacturers.
As a result, Mr Emmanuel Amartey said agitations against the implementation of the system were misplaced and should not be allowed to dictate the outcome of the policy.
“We have no problem with it because we think that it is a chance also to enhance manufacturing activities.
“We think that it helps address the same issue that we have been going on and on about that people should not under-declare their imports because it undermines local production,” he said in an interview. — GB