Halt CTN and do wider consultation — GCCI

The President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso I, has urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to as a matter of urgency place a moratorium on the implementation of Cargo Tracking Note (CTN).

This, according to him, was to enable for a wider consultation with all stakeholders in order to address the challenges identified with the implementation of the facility, and allay the fears and concerns of all.

“The chamber recognises the need for government to improve its revenue generation to support the industrial and economic transformation agenda of the country,” he said.

“However, the implementation of the CTN, which among other things, is to collate reliable trade database to benchmark and protect government revenue in import duties and taxes has been faced with stiff opposition,” he added.

Addressing a news conference in Accra yesterday, Nana Dankawoso said the policy had been halted on two different occasions due to the lack of mutual understanding among all interested parties.

The situation, he said, was creating a needless anxiety among some of the stakeholders especially, importers and traders, who play a critical role in the Ghanaian economy, stressing that “per the research conducted by the chamber at the ports, the cost of doing business is high and any additional cost will undermine our competitiveness.”

Nana Dankawoso said it had taken the chamber and other stakeholders a lot of efforts to persuade inland countries like Burkina Faso and Mali to direct their traffic through Ghana, and there was the need for these gains to be consolidated.

“It is our expectation that lasting mutual agreement would be reached between policy makers and the practitioners to forestall any disruption in the import sector with cost implication for businesses and government,” he explained.

Touching on the cost of doing business at the country’s ports, he said even though the implementation of the paperless system had brought some level of relief to customers and importers, cost was still high.

He blamed the high cost of doing business at the port on some charges that stakeholders themselves found difficult to explain, for example “apart from paying legitimate charges such as custom duties, port and shipping charges, handling charges and others, importers are also made to pay a component called miscellaneous charges.”

The miscellaneous charges, he said, was in some cases three times more expensive than the legitimate charges, and efforts at getting authorities to explain rationale behind these charges had proved futile.

He, therefore, appealed to the government to take steps to scrap some of those charges to ease the burden of doing business at the country’s ports.

The GRA commenced with the implementation of the CTN policy at the country’s ports on Monday despite agitation from various stakeholders.

As part of the policy, importers whose imports records exceeded 36 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per year would be required to obtain a CTN Number in the country of export.

“This means any importer who imports less than 36 TEUs per year is exempt from the CTN compliance. Further, businesses that import more than 36 TEUs per year but can demonstrate that the nature of their imports and their turnovers make them small importers will also be exempt,” a statement from the GRA said.

By Cliff Ekuful & Lucy Abeduwaa Appiah

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