Some articulated trucks parked at the Tema Port
Some articulated trucks parked at the Tema Port

Freight forwarders protest new GRA tax

A group calling itself Concerned Freight Forwarders at the Tema Port has raised issues with the imposition of a 150 per cent tax by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on members of the group who transport goods to neighbouring Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire.


The group said if the tax, which it described as ‘unreasonable’, was not reduced or withdrawn immediately, it could grind their businesses to a halt.

It vowed to resist any attempt by the GRA to compel members to pay any tax they deemed not fit.

Meanwhile, it has petitioned the Office of the Vice-President to look into the matter.

The acting Chairman of the group, Mr Kassim Mumuni, poured out the frustration of members in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

“We’re appealing to the government and the relevant authorities to quickly reduce or withdraw the 150 per cent tax imposed on our members because we are suffering, just a month after the policy was introduced.

“They should rather work closely with us to find a lasting solution to the issue of diversion they are complaining about, instead of the sanctions,” he said.

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When the Daily Graphic visited the yard where containers are lodged at the Tema Port before haulage last Monday, it realised that the usually busy area was almost empty and there seemed to be no activity going on there. Some drivers were, however, seen loitering.

Meanwhile, containers meant to be transited to neighbouring countries such as Togo had been left at the port, creating a deadlock at some sections.

Mr Mumuni said the group was not prepared to pay the tax and would demonstrate in the coming days to send out a signal to the authorities that they were not happy with the development.

“Many of our people will be kicked out of business if this tax is allowed to stay. If our concerns are not heeded, we’ll continue to demonstrate until the right thing is done,” he said.

Curtailing diversion

Reacting to the concerns of the group, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of Policy and Programme at the Customs Division of the GRA, Mr Richard Yawtse, said the policy was introduced to discourage the diversion of goods from the ports.

He explained that many agents, after paying all the necessary taxes and obtaining landing certificates, refused to transport the goods and ended up selling them in the country.

He added that the management realised that many agents under-declared, so it decided to develop a technique to resolve the matter.

“So when we met all the stakeholders, including the members of the Concerned Freight Forwarders, we explained to them that henceforth, they would be made to pay some amount of money before they transited their goods across the borders, as part of measures to discourage diversion.

“If the individual is able to undertake the trip within the stipulated time frame, the demurrage is paid back to the person on return,” he added.

When asked if the GRA would meet the leadership of the group to listen to its concerns, Mr Yawtse answered in the affirmative.

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