GUTA finally agrees to Cargo Tracking Note policy

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
 Mr Emmanuel Nana Opoku Acheampong — the Deputy General Secretary of GUTA
Mr Emmanuel Nana Opoku Acheampong — the Deputy General Secretary of GUTA

After months of resistance, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has finally backed down on its opposition to the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN ) policy by the government.

The Customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) introduced the CTN at the country’s ports in March this year to reduce revenue losses and under-declaration of goods.

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Even before the policy took off, GUTA and the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) were on the warpath with the government to vent their anger and frustration over the new regime.

The freight forwarders, in particular, contended that the CTN was a duplication of efforts which slowed down their activities because the GRA already had access to shipment information, hence there was no need for filling new documents.

In the wake of the brouhaha that greeted the policy, the government put the implementation on hold for stakeholder consultation, but later announced October, 15 this year, as the new date for the resumption of the CTN policy.


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U-turn

In an interview with the Daily Graphic last Tuesday, the Deputy General Secretary of GUTA, Mr Emmanuel Nana Opoku Acheampong, said GUTA had decided to abide by the directive from the GRA and the government.

He said GUTA’s decision followed a review of the CTN system which was now advantageous to traders and importers.

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Mr Acheampong noted that the association had, accordingly, called on all traders to embrace the CTN system in the interest of the country.

In the latest twist, however, Mr Acheampong said members of GUTA and traders who initially opposed the policy due to lack of sufficient information about how the system worked had rescinded their decision and were now in full support of the implementation of the reviewed policy.

“Prior to implementing the CTN, traders kicked against it because there was inadequate communication from the government and the Customs Division of the GRA. The CTN has been reviewed for the benefit of importers and traders and the new system now does not apply to traders whose capacity is a maximum of three twenty-footer equivalent unit (TEU) per month which is equivalent to 40 feet high queue TEU container in a year .

“I strongly urge the Greater Accra branch of GUTA especially, to put all differences aside and welcome the reviewed CTN policy in good faith,” he stressed.

Caution

The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has, in the past few months, taken a tough stance against the CTN policy, including staging a strike on August 27 to back their demand for the policy to be withdrawn.

Mr Acheampong urged freight forwarders who were still resisting the CTN system at the ports to rescind their decision.

He noted that persistent opposition to the CTN by freight forwarders could be an orchestration born out of a political agenda meant to sabotage the policy.

“I want to caution freight forwarders to desist from sabotaging the CTN policy not to introduce politics and read different meanings into its implementation because the policy deals directly with traders and importers and not intermediaries,” he stressed.

GIFF reacts

Meanwhile, the GIFF has described the GRA’s announcement of October 15, this year as the new date for the take off of the CTN policy as a “monumental display of bad faith on the part of the government”.

According to the President of the institute, Mr Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah, the road map that was developed by a joint committee that was set up, comprising GIFF, GUTA, GRA and other stakeholders, had not been followed.

“When the committee met, we asked legitimate questions that demanded urgent answers. The understanding was that these questions will be forwarded to the Presidency for the appropriate answers after which a consultative forum will be organised for the way forward, but this did not happen,” he explained on Citi Fm’s “Eye-witness News” today (October 9).

Mr Ofosu-Appiah said GIFF would make its next line of action on the latest development known in the coming days.