Delays in the auctioning of goods seized at the port are causing the country to lose millions of Ghana cedis, Michael Luguje, director general of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has said.
Speaking at the Economic Dialogue series in Accra, Luguje says the situation is worrying, adding “…When they go bad [imported goods], indeed when you auction, there is no value for even the market to get a little cedi out of it.
“Secondly, the cost of destroying the cargo when it goes bad also makes it another extra cost that is incurred and indeed the shipping lines that own the containers, that bring that cargos are compelled to pay for the destruction of the perished commodities so that they could have their empty boxes back.”
He added, “By so doing, shipping lines have complained that it is making Ghana’s market riskier. So when you bringing your container load of import cargo into Ghana you factor in the risk that, that container could sit in Ghana for months or even years and you will end up paying for the perished goods, they factor all that into the fees that they charge the Ghanaian importer.”
Per the port’s regulations, a container that is not cleared within 60 days goes into auction.
However, the auctioning by the customs delays causing the goods to lose their value and the state is not able to raise the actual amount from the goods.
But Luguje said the GHPA is engaging stakeholders to address the delays in auctioning goods at the ports, “So all those factors together are what we are now working with the customs administration, Ghana Shippers Authority and other stakeholders to ensure that after the 60 days, as fast as possible customs can get those cargos auctioned. So these are several interventions we are doing as a growing concern to try to plug the loopholes as much as possible.”