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GSA to eliminate illegitimate charges at the ports
 
Posted on: 20-Jun-2013         Source: thebftonline.com
 
 
 
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers Authority Dr. Kofi Mbiah says the Authority is in the process of streamlining various charges at the ports as a way of doing away with “illegitimate” charges, with the passage of the new GSA Regulation L.I. 2190.

He explained “illegitimate charges” to be those fees that service providers demand from importers and exporters in order to fast-track transactions.

“The new regulation is GSA’s way of addressing the issues of unauthorised fees and charges billed to importers and exporters at the ports, in order to drastically reduce their cost of doing business at the port while making them more competitive.”

He said the Authority is currently in engagements with service providers, and that once negotiations are concluded the fixed charges will be publicised -- which the providers will be expected to comply with.

Speaking to the B&FT in an interview on the sidelines of a maritime seminar in Accra, Dr. Mbiah said the new regulation allows room for negotiations between the ports’ service providers and the Authority to ensure best practices in operations, and also provides a forum for disgruntled parties to seek redress.

“There is a mechanism within the regulation whereby people can seek redress if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation. There is an arbitration panel to handle such instances, after which a final determination will be made.

“After the final determination, service providers who fail to comply with the directives will have sanctions imposed on them,” he told B&FT.

Dr. Mbiah also shared his views on the need to free the ports to allow rapid flow of goods: “There is a need for port authorities to free the ports to ensure speedy flow of goods and strengthen internal tax collection mechanisms”.

He said freeing the port would mean fewer interventions in the flow of goods from the vessel to the importer, but also added, this could be done if importers and exporters desist from fictitious documentation and improper valuation on consignments.

He said the introduction of technology in the ports’ processes has been an improvement, but more needs to be done.