General News of Tuesday, 3 March 2015
A joint group of businesses and industry is refusing to budge on its intended joint strike despite an appeal from the Ministry of Trade and Industry against it.
The group’s strike on Wednesday is in protest to the intended implementation of the Ghana conformity assessment programme (G-CAP), the advanced shipment information system (ASHI), as well as the worsening conditions of the business environment in the country.”
G-CAP is a conformity assessment process used to verify that products imported into Ghana meet the necessary standards.
ASHI is an electronic platform by which relevant shipment information is received in advance of vessel arrival in Ghana to enable pre-arrival clearance processes.
This is to help minimise the cost of clearing cargo at the port by reducing delays as well as high demurrage and rent charges. Its implementation has, however, been postponed to April on the orders of the Transport Ministry.
The joint consultative association says as part of the strike, “all businesses/industry within the Greater Accra Region are to be closed to the general public on Wednesday the 4th of March 2015 and members to congregate in red attire at the GUTA head office for further directives and press briefings,” adding: “There will be no street demonstration at this point.”
Those part of the joint group include: Ghana chamber of commerce and industry (GCCI), the Ghana union of traders association (GUTA), Ghana Automobile Dealers Association (GADA), Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders Association (GIFF), the Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG), Importers and exporters association of Ghana, Ghana pharmaceutical chamber, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), customs brokers association of Ghana and the freight forwarders association of Ghana.
In appealing to the group not to go on the strike, the Ministry of Trade in a statement said it recognises and appreciates some of the challenges businesses are going through at the moment but wishes to appeal to the various associations not to aggravate the country’s economic situation by withdrawing their commercial services from customers, suppliers and various business stakeholders who have caused them no harm.
It said: “The associations are aware of the leadership role MOTI is taking to fight for the reduction of interest rate, to decongest the harbour by reducing the number of operators there, as well as promote Made-in-Ghana goods so as to increase the demand for local production and to strengthen employment.”
The Ministry, according to the statement, said it has also suspended the implementation of the (G-CAP) to allow for deeper consultation with stakeholders.
“At a time when Ghana is making progress in ‘ease of Doing Business’ rankings, as well as ‘attractiveness to Foreign Investment’, embarking on a strike will give Ghana a negative reputation in international business circles, as the intended strike would affect the various international partners and interlocutors of the business and industry players,” the Ministry said in the statement.
It also said the decision of the business associations to go on strike could be misconstrued to mean a disappointment with the success of the IMF negotiations and an organized effort to undermine the national economy.
It urged the group to come to the negotiating table rather than rather than take actions that will reduce Ghana’s GDP growth, cause unemployment, dislocate various business and industry value chains and worsen Ghana’s economic prospects.
However, the Public Relations Officer of GUTA Joseph Padi told Starr News all the negotiations have already been done and the Government has made up its mind so they will also not listen to any appeals.