Importers cry foul as THC stirs confusion
Barely a week after the Transport Ministry reiterated that the suspension of the Terminal Handling Charges at the ports is still in force, some shipping companies are still defying the order.
One such company is the MSC Shipping Line. Transport Minister Fiifi Kweetey, last Friday (August 26, 2016) indicated that the Ministry will reconvene a meeting with the shipping companies and other stakeholders after studying a report submitted by the Ghana Maritime Authority on the matter.
Various business associations have complained about the continuous imposition of the THC on their operations. The AGI’s President, James Asare Adjei recently indicated that the development is having a toll on the businesses of AGI members as well as other businesses.
According to him, affected companies are compelled to pay as much as 78 million dollars annually. Confirming the defiance by the shipping companies to Citi Business News, the Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Sampson Asaaki Awingobit said he wants the Ministry to be tough and sanction shipping companies that continue to defy the order.
“MSC Shipping Company is the only shipping line that is defying the directive from the Minister. the officials claim that the THC is an international policy as such, it is only its principals who would have to take the ultimate decision to charge the importers or not,” he stated.
Sampson Asaaki added, “I am concerned because the MSC is legally registered as a limited liability company operating in Ghana. As a matter of fact any authority on behalf of the republic can authorize them not to undertake any exercise that will affect the country or businesses in the future.”
Meanwhile Sampson Asaaki Awingobit is hopeful the scheduled meeting with the Ministry will proffer an amicable solution to the persistent challenge confronting the various importers and freight forwarders.
“We are expecting the minister to be firm; there have been enough explanation for the shipping companies to understand that they are not supposed to charge the THC.
The importers have been paying freight clearance which has the THC embedded. Hence the Minister should make pronouncements and that should be implemented to that effect,” he stressed.