GUTA: Our opposition to Cargo Tracking Note is non-negotiable

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
Dr Joseph Obeng (middle), GUTA President addressing the press conference in Accra. Those with him are Mr Osei - Brenya (left), First Vice, Mr Charles Gyan (right), Vice President. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY
Dr Joseph Obeng (middle), GUTA President addressing the press conference in Accra. Those with him are Mr Osei - Brenya (left), First Vice, Mr Charles Gyan (right), Vice President. Picture: NII MARTEY M. BOTCHWAY

The Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says its opposition to the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) is non-negotiable.

The association therefore said any attempt by policy implementers to “cunningly rope” its members into the CTN scheme would be fiercely resisted.

At a press conference on the CTN in Accra, the President of GUTA, Dr Joseph Obeng stated that “the effectiveness, efficiency and integrity of the experimenttion of the policy wil litslef naturally serve as bait for possble migration into the system.

“We hereby entreat all small and medium scale importers who have been duly exempted from the CTN to continue with their import process without any fear and immediately report to us any obstruction that may come their way for the necessary assistance,” he said.

Persistent opposition

Dr Obeng said the business community, particularly importers, had always opposed any policy or system that caused delay, added cost and sought clearance before goods were shipped into the country.

He said it was for such reason that GUTA vehemently opposed and called for the withdrawal of the Advanced Shipment Information System (ASHI) and the Ghana Conformity Assessment Programme (G-CAP) during the previous administration.

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According to him, when the CTN was to be introduced on September 1, 2018, after its earlier suspension, members of the business community, especially those in the informal sector, decided to protest against the planned implementation day.

He said it was against that background,  that the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stepped in and suspended the implementation for six weeks.

The suspension, he said, was to allow adequate time for issues raised on reduction of import duty rates, abrogation of benchmark values, absorption of the cost of the programme to be properly addressed, and also a committee to be formed to scrutinise the CTN and submit a report to the President for consideration.

Bureaucracy

Expressing appreciation to the President for the concession he made, Dr Obeng indicated after five weeks of intensive and heated deliberations, the committee submitted its report to the President who out of clear understanding and appreciation of the issues raised, as well as his desire for the development and growth of small and medium scale business, gave some concession.

“The concessions was that small and medium scale businesses will not partake in the CTN, hence the President’s giving a quota of 36 20ft containers or 18 40ft containers per annum which has been broken down to three 20ft container or one-and-a-half 40ft container a month per shipment at a time.

“Nonetheless, we persisted and raised issues of the inadequacy of the quota itself and the confusion that may arise therefrom; this is transitional arrangements, registration for codes and exemptions, petition for upliftment of quotas, commencement and methodology of counting.

“These are some of the obvious challenges that will bring unnecessary bureaucracy, time wasting, lobbying and cost that may culminate in creating possible avenues for frustration and corruption,” he said.