Over the last four years, total goods passing through the country’s seaports witnessed an average growth rate of 4.3
per cent per annum.
After a historic decline of 13.84
In terms of growth rate, data from the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) show that cargo through the ports rose from 7.2
The growth is also attributable to the expansion works at the Tema and the Takoradi ports, the general socio-political stability, the commencement of commercial production of oil and gas in Ghana’s waters and the smoothening of the various rough edges that hitherto impeded trade.
Together, the developments have ensured that Ghana earned its place as a haven for trade in the sub-region, and the continent as a whole.
For instance, the country took a giant leap towards ease of doing business reforms when it introduced the Single Window platform that provided a comprehensive set of online services to the trading community.
As these positives began to manifest, the issue of government earning the right revenue from the ports remained on the lips of almost every person.
With the ports being a critical part of
However, while that is laudable, such measures must not be
This explains why the current controversy surrounding the CTN should be looked at devoid of emotions and entrenched positions.
The CTN module which took effect on October 15 is to enhance the security functions of the government, generate
This was revealed in a statement dated October 14 and signed by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority,
Genesis of CTN
Indeed, the CTN is a way of verifying the contents of every
As a means of improving the security around marine shipments, the CTN was introduced following the September 11,
Most countries within
No success story
However, the CTN has been tried in most African countries such as Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Kenya
Nigeria tried the module in more than one and a half years but after the introduction of the CTN, concealment, undervaluation, over-valuation, smuggling and illegal drugs and arms shipment continued unabated in the ports.
In 2010, over four incidents of
Ghana roped in
The year 2018 opened for the Ghanaian shipping industry with a controversy
A lot of heat was generated. Prominent among these stakeholders were members of the Joint Business Consultative Forum (JBCF). In a petition to the Presidency, the JBCF registered its opposition to the new scheme.
The controversy trailing the policy was such that the government had
Agitations by shippers
The module was suspended three times this year to pave way for stakeholder consultations yet the CTN was forcefully implemented amid strong opposition.
The postponement was occasioned by agitations from the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Ship Owners and Agents Association of Ghana (SOAAG) against the system.
The trading community had explained that the
As a result, it asked the Customs Division of the GRA to use the Customs to Customs (C2C) method recommended by the TFA to achieve the same results that the CTN is envisaged to achieve.
But in a determined effort to convince
Even some few days into the implementation, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) says its opposition to the CTN is indefinite, shaking off ongoing concerns by some people that the trade group is divided
“We want to be emphatic herein that our opposition to the CTN is infinite and, therefore, any attempt by policy implementers to cunningly rope us into the module scheme in the future will be fiercely resisted,” its President said at a press conference in Accra.
In its current form, it is obvious the controversies trailing the CTN module will defeat the purpose for implementation and rather lead to a duplication of systems and also impede trade in the country.
The revenue authority, shipping lines and other stakeholders in the shipping business are now recovering from the protest which led to importers and freight forwarders shutting operations at the various ports for close to a week.
Moving into the festive season which is often the peak for imports, the government needs to tread cautiously with the implementation of the module, especially at a time when it has a huge revenue target to meet.
The government should first of all study the entire procedure once more, identify clearly the objectives of the module and figure out clearly the way forward in the best interest of industry players and the state as a whole. — GB