11 October 2018

Ghana: GRA's CTN Policy Takes Effect October 15

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that it will fully implement the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) system at Ghana's ports from October 15, 2018.

The system was meant to be implemented in August 2018 but was postponed after pressure from the Freight Forwarders Association.

But a letter addressed to the Shipowners & Agents Association of Ghana, and sighted by citinewsroom.com said, "for the avoidance of doubt, all shipments made on 15th day of October 2018 and thenceforth to Ghana or with Ghana as the country of destination must be covered by a CTN number."

The letter indicated that Customs will not process goods imported into the country without CTN numbers.

"Goods imported into the country without the CTN, as required, would not be processed by Customs for clearance until the CTN number is provided, except where a special dispensation had been granted," the letter said.

But the Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana has registered their displeasure again over GRA's latest decision to go ahead with the implementation of the system despite their arguments against it.

The President of the Association, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, in an interview citifm described the development as a "monumental display of bad faith."

"This is a monumental display of bad faith... We had a committee of the joint business consultative forum made up of Freight forwarder associations and trade associations on one side and the Ghana Revenue Authority as the implementer on another side. Initially, we expressed our hunch about the structure of the committee because we thought that there was going to be an arbiter who will advice the presidency."

"We had about five meetings and the structure of the meeting was just questions and answers... The road-map was that, all these issues we raised, it was going to be presented to the president so that a forum will be created for the answers to be exacted".

He said the road-map was however not followed.

Background

The freight forwarders embarked on a strike in August 27, 2018 to protest against the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) system at the ports. The action was necessitated by what the businesses described as government's failure to heed concerns on the policy which impedes trade facilitation.

The business associations that participated in the action included; the Customs Brokers Association of Ghana, the Association of Customs House Agents Ghana, Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana and the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana.

Strike triggered by unresolved concerns

The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, had told Citi Business News their action is to get a possible suspension of the CTN policy.

He further explained that they were open to further consultations by the government to get their concerns addressed and possibly reduce the days for the strike.

"There are people in government who are listening, they are concerned. We want those people to know that they are not in the minority, we want those people to be assured that what they believe is wrong is wrong and we want other people who have not listened to our concerns to begin to gravitate towards us."

The CTN requires importers to provide real-time information on all consignments to Ghana to a global monitoring platform.

The cost, which ranges between 100 and 200 dollars, is being borne by the GRA.

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