Per the directives given by government in the partial lockdown of Greater Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi, majority of businesses especially that of members of The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations that imports have been greatly affected.
For the good of all Ghanaians, we of the business community have also complied with the directives and have locked up our businesses.
It is very sad that while most of our members cannot move out freely because they are all adhering to the restrictions announced by government, the shipping lines are asking that since they are still working, our members whose goods have arrived at the ports should clear them or pay demurrage if the containers continue to remain at the ports during this lockdown period.
The Ghana Ports and Harbor Authority are also asking importers to clear their goods from their ware houses or pay further rent charges. Another sad aspect is that, with most of our businesses closed, it has become very difficult for our members to make the needed sales to even pay for the duties at this point in time.
Last but not the least, the importers will need the services of the off loaders when the goods get to the closed warehouses. Not to mention the social distancing that will be lost should the importer even get these off loaders to bring down the goods.
It is quite unfortunate that persistent calls through the Ministry of Trade and Industry and The Ghana Shippers Authority to the shipping lines and GPHA to waive the demurrage and rent charges at this very crucial time in the life of this country is proofing futile.
It is quite sad that to them it is business as usual while the importer, because of the national interest, is adhering to government’s directives so as to ensure that we all fight this very contagious pandemic together.
We are therefore calling on government to strongly appeal to the Shipping lines and GPHA to give unconditional waivers to demurrage and rent charges during this period of the lockdown so that together we all achieve the aim of fighting this pandemic to success.
It is our hope that government quickly heed to our call so that our members are not forced to clear their goods and open their shops and ware houses to off load their goods.
We will also advise that inspite of the fact that government agencies like GRA, GPHA etc. want revenue, they cannot put the lives of Ghanaians in danger so we ask that government orders that consignments that form part of essential goods only must be cleared while all others must be held on till the end of the lock down unless under special dispensation.
Sign: Dr Joseph Obeng.
President of GUTA