About 800 corporate entities in the freight fraternity have issued a one-week ultimatum to government to suspend the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) or face a shutdown of the freight system.
The freight fraternity made up of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Association of Custom House Agents of Ghana (ACHAG), Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana, and the Custom Brokers Association of Ghana (CUBAG).
Mr Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, President of GIFF, announcing this on Monday said “we have resolved that we are going to stop work across the country from Monday 27 August, if government does not suspend the CTN for further consultations.”
Mr Appiah indicated that the strike would transcend the borders of Ghana, Kotoka International Airport, Tema and Takoradi Ports, Elubo and Paga and there would be no declarations and payments of duties.
The Cargo Tracking Note system was introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and enjoined exporters world over, shipping cargo to Ghana to provide detailed and timely information about their shipment in advance on a Global Online Platform being run by Messrs Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) Ghana Limited.
It was aimed at modernizing the GRA’s operations to facilitate the movement of the legitimate trade in line with international best practices as pioneered by the United States of America.
He noted that several pieces of advice, calls and petitions the GRA and other stakeholders to re-look at the CTN had yielded no result as they were bent on implementing it.
“If people of mandate think those who matter are not us, we are giving them one-week ultimatum”, adding that “we have given all this consultation for free but no, they won’t listen to us!”
They questioned why letters from the Presidency announcing a postponement of the CTN dated February 16, 2018 and May 28, had been ignored by the GRA and rather started piloting it from July 1.
They wondered why GRA has not connected the CTN system to existing platforms such as GCNet indicating that all the national trade data would be in the hands of the operators who could manipulate it.
“There are powerful individuals behind this, all they care about is making money, whether there is value or not”, they added.
According to them, even though government claimed freight forwarders would not be charged for the use of the CTN platform, the piloting had shown that shipping lines had been charging CTN charge of between 100 and 200 dollars before the issuance of the code.
They also stated that Custom Division of GRA and GCNet have indicated that they were under no obligation to accept the information on the invoices from CTN and may have to do their own validating.
The freight forwarders further said all the information to be provided on the CTN was already on the manifest, therefore, no need to set another platform to do what was already in place.
They said they were not against GRA having means of validating invoices but “where people are painting us black, go behind the scene and present the same value or more, we won’t accept”.