Business News of 2014-08-26

Importer Calls for extension of import permits

...from 3 Months to 6 Months

Managing Director of Princess Cold Store in the port city of Tema, Mrs Ama Gyanfuah Dapaah is calling on government to extend the validity of import permits for the importation of frozen foods from the current three months to at least six months or even a year.

According to her, the three months permit now the standard by which they operate is not good enough and does not allow the importers ample time to place their orders, ship and clear.

Speaking in an interview with M&TD on the sidelines of a stakeholder meeting at the instance of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Madam Dapaah noted that it was as result of the short duration given to importers of frozen products that most of them usually have their consignments seized in the ports because of the tall order in the processes leading the eventual clearance of such consignments.

According to her, because they usually import from distant countries, it takes long for the vessels to reach Ghana and that by the time most of them arrive in the country, their permits would have expired, often culminating in the confiscation and subsequent auction of the consignments.

"If you are buying from a producer, they put you on the line so within the three months, your goods will not be in Ghana and your permit expires and when you call for it to be considered, they tell you no, it must go to auction because you don’t have any permit at that time. So I am suggesting that they should give us six months permit or even a whole year; it allows you ample time as an importer to properly plan, and even on the number of containers you are importing that whole year,’’ she said.

Mrs. Aboagye intimated that if the current arrangement is allowed to persist, the tendency of authorities auctioning all imported frozen foods would be high since no importer can place orders, ship and clear his or her consignments within the three-month period.

She wants the veterinary services department which is the issuing authority to emulate other state agencies which also has business in the clearing of cargo from the ports such the Foods and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority which issues permits covering the whole year.

According to her, the plight of the imported is further exacerbated by the fact that quotas are allocated each importer and that an importer is sometimes given a permit to import just one container for the entire three month duration, a situation she describes as unacceptable.

" Sometimes if you go there and ask that you want to import 200 tonnes, they say no, and they give you only 50 tonnes which is just two containers; at times they even give you only one container on one item, what are you going to do with one container in three months?’’ She asked.

She is therefore calling on the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Veterinary services department to review their notes and ensure that the struggles that importers of frozen foods go through in their quest to stay in business are alleviated.

She further noted that the importers should be given the prerogative to select which item they want to import so that they will agree on the quantity with the authorities rather than the authorities dictating to them the type of product or item they should import, adding that such a practise was not business friendly at all.

Mrs. Dapaah also chided the veterinary services department for collecting as much as 650 Ghana Cedis per container but doing little to support the growth of the businesses of the same people they collect such monies from and called for a reversal of the trend.

Source: Maritime & Transport Digest
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