The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has appealed to government to reassess the scope of delivery in relation to the “time-related costs” as a result of the introduction of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the port.
GIFF president, Edward Tetteh-Owusu Akrong, in a letter addressed to the office of the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said because the additional delays in clearing goods at the ports had become the “new normal” under ICUMS, it was unfair to continue to charge importers punitive fees over imports not cleared within the accepted grace period.
In the letter dated August, 24, 2020 and sighted by the Ghanaian Times, GIFF explained that its members, importers and the trading community, were not to be blamed for the new avoidable delays.
“We are, therefore, are appealing to the government to either extend the given grace period for clearing goods, absorb the punitive fees on delayed clearance or simply grant them a waiver,” it said.
GIFF has also suggested that as a matter of urgency, a committee should be formed to work out modalities in getting a solution to the avoidable delays under ICUMS.
“We the members of GIFF, having had extensive engagement with the importing and trading community, have resolved to appeal first to your good self to cause to be suspended State Warehouse Rent Charges, cause to be suspended Interest Charges, empanel a committee under the remits of the Ghana Shippers Authority to review downward all the other fees or review upwards the allowable grace periods, taking into consideration all other interests,” the GIFF president said in the letter.
It mentioned that under ICUMS, there was an unfortunate and avoidable time-related cost component that results in fees including State Warehouse Rent Charges, GPHA Terminal Rent Charges, Demurrage to the shipping lines, Terminal Rent Charges, Ground Handlers Storage Charges at the Airport, Truck Demurrage at land frontiers and other charges.
“The above fees are chargeable only after one has breached an allowable grace period. Our appeal is therefore on the fact that the new normal of ICUMS and the drag it has introduced that makes it the rule now for clearance to go way beyond allowable grace periods,” the letter from GIFF noted.
It also appealed to the office of the Senior Minister to consider the challenge as “extremely important and representative of the views of the solution seekers on the ground.”