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The operations of importers and freight forwarders in the country are being severely hampered by the hefty import tariffs at the ports.

The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders said the situation is disincentivizing importers.

Traffic inflows at the ports have recently decreased, owing primarily to low importation.

The high import charges that must be paid before goods are cleared, according to players in the business, are partially to blame for the trend.

Speaking on the matter, the chairman of the Tema District of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Johnny Mantey said, both importers and freight forwarders are no longer able to cope with the situation.

All the regulators are at the port and all they do is increase the tariffs without doing any work. The charges are becoming burdensome. Benchmark values have to go, Customs, GRA and other bodies must sit down and find better solutions to determining the duties that are payable,” he said on the Point of View on Citi TV.

The GPHA held an emergency stakeholder meeting to ascertain the factors behind the significant dip in importation.

“The volumes at the port have gone down by 50 percent. GPHA is very worried, but the major issue is all about taxes and exchange rates. Importation is key in any economy; however, the problem is about the unpredictability in our space. Nobody knows about the site for price verification at the port for the values that are being charged. The commodity site should be made known, and the processes streamlined”, Mr. Mantey told host, Bernard Avle.

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana has blamed the low volumes of imports into the country on fiscal policies implemented by the government.

Executive Secretary of the group Sampson Asaki Awingobi says the government’s retrogressive fiscal and unfriendly port policies are concerning.

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“A drop in imports in the country is not because of the GPHA, it is a result of the government’s fiscal policies including the total reversal of the benchmark values that have quadrupled the funds needed to import into the country. The benchmark values have a negative impact on the duty and also the depreciation of the cedi against the dollar. Again, the increase in Value Added Tax in the 2023 budget has also increased the cost of doing business”, he said.

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