Importers and exporters are calling for the suspension of port decongestion exercise, at least for non-perishable goods, until after further deliberations among stakeholders.
The Presidential Special Operations Taskforce in collaboration with other stakeholders is embarking on an exercise to clear the Tema Port of over-stayed cargo. It has therefore asked importers and agents to clear their perishable goods by last Friday and the non perishable ones in two weeks time by Wednesday, April 23. .
The Executive Secretary to the Ghana Association of Importers and Exporters, Sampson Asaki Awingo-bit tells JOY BUSINESS, the taskforce has gone beyond what was mutually agreed earlier.
“What was discussed to the best of my knowledge was only that of “reefer” containers which include containers of imported frozen meat, chicken products, cow legs, pig legs etc. But the notice includes both perishable and non perishable and we want to make it clear that government has taken it too harsh with the Ghanaian importers for giving them only two weeks that if they don’t clear it will amount to confiscation and that is not the best,” he said..
But the spokesperson of the special taskforce Dr. Clement Apaak has denied this.
“There has been an informal interaction between myself and the Executive Secretary of the association but there was no agreement that the directive was not going to include non-perishable goods and items. And indeed what we have stated in the directive is one that is clearly stated and supported by the CEPS Law, 1993. So it is not new. We are only seeking to enforce the law.
“I think there are legal ways to seek redress even within the context of the law that allows for the state to move in and takeover forfeited containers – be they perishable or non-perishable goods. So I’d advice those importers and exporters that have genuine cases to make to look at the portions of the law that allow them to seek redress,” he said.
But Mr. Asaki Awingobit insists they would rather the decongestion is deferred for at least non-perishable goods until further deliberations are held.
“I want to make it clear that it’s a rather unpardonable statement Dr. Clement Apaak has made that we can go to court. We have not gotten there and so he should not be in a haste to say so. We should rather say that we would go to court to stop them from what they are going to do. But we haven’t said that and rather saying that government should give us the opportunity to sit at the table to discuss the issues and give the affected persons some ample time to clear their goods. We know the government is a listening one and we want to have that dialogue first and appealing to them to hold on with the two weeks ultimatum until the discussions are concluded,” he noted.
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