General News of Sunday, 22 February 2015
Source: Maritime & Transport Digest
The Tema Collection of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority is assembling all the relevant agencies to enable them jointly destroy over 2,000 used mattresses seized in the port of Tema alone.
According to Assistant Commissioner in charge of collection, Mr. Osman Awudu, the collection barring any last minute hitch will take delivery of the monies needed for the destruction of the mattresses by this week and that it was their expectation that the items would be destroyed by the first week of March.
Mr. Osman Awudu in an interview with the Maritime and Transport Digest noted that the division was getting the port health unit of the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the National Security, the police and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly among others informed about the intended destruction of the items which destruction is said would cost about GHS50, 000.
According to Mr. Awudu, the Ghana Revenue Authority has decided to bear the cost of the destruction but would enjoy support from the various foam companies in the country who are supporting with transportation.
He intimated that unlike past times when foam companies voted monies for such destructions just like the British Tobacco Company used to help destroy fake cigarettes, times are hard now and the companies are grappling with several challenges and so cannot vote finances for such purposes any longer, prompting the division to take it upon itself to deal with the destruction in collaboration with other relevant institutions.
‘’ The idea is to send a strong signal that some of these mattresses are not good and poses a lot of health risks to people. It is not healthy and when we effect this destruction, it will send a signal that we are serious and will not hesitate to seize them as and when they are brought into the country because the law prohibits it’’ Mr. Awudu noted.
Mr. Awudu said the rate at which importers brought in such used items was gradually reducing adding that the trend saw a hike during the end of last year where some importers brought some in and covered them with polythenes under the guise that they were second hand mattresses, adding that close examination often revealed that they were really used ones.
Other banned used items include underwear, handkerchiefs and recently fridges and gas cylinders.
Mr. Awudu explained that it is acceptable and permissible for one who is moving residence into the country to come along with his or her mattresses adding that just a few pieces between two and three are allowed under such circumstances.
He noted that because the cost of destroying such items in the countries of origin is usually high, they prefer to give such items out to people from less endowed countries especially Africa, adding that even the environmental regulations in such countries makes it difficult for items such as mattresses to be destroyed there.
Mr. Awudu entreated importers to avoid clashes with the law by importing only items that are acceptable and deemed legal, noting that they risk losing their investments if they defy such bans and import the banned items.