It is the end of road and end of game for fraudsters and imposters who take advantage of the leakages at the ports to line their pockets, as government begins the implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) system today, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
With CTN in place, all shipments to Ghana (transit cargo included), Shippers/Exporters/Forwarders at the various Ports of Loading around the World are required to obtain a validated CTN number using the global online platform and submit same together with Shipping Instructions (SI).
Each B/L must be covered by a valid unique CTN number which will also be inserted on the Cargo Manifest. Shipments not covered by a valid CTN number will not be loaded and fines may apply.
The implementation of the CTN is expected to rake into government revenue $50million every month.
The path to the implementation of the CTN has however not been smooth as, aside the date for its implementation postponed many times, the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders(GIFF) are still in a tango over whether not the system should be implemented.
Already, a Freight forwarder has filed a case in court seeking an injunction on Ghana Revenue Authority from implementing the new Cargo tracking Note system
The plaintiff, John Kwame Adu Jack, is asking the court to also declare that the policy is illegal, unconstitutional and in breach of the provisions of the trade facilitation agreement.
The writ, brought against the GRA, the Commissioner General as well as CTN Ghana, the company tasked to implement the policy, is in reaction to the implementation of a new Cargo Tracking Note which will help in monitoring and collecting taxes for imported products.
In the statement of claim by the plaintiff, Adu Jack said the Bill of Laden is also required to be covered by a valid CTN number and shipping lines.
The implication of these is an increase in import duties, he suggested in the writ.
“Accessing the platform for business comes with tariffs or fees as per the advertisement on the home page of the defendants and failure to comply is an offence which may come with penalties and fines,” the writ said.
The plaintiff also wants the court to award cost and legal fees against the respondents.
Whereas freight forwarders claim the implementation of the policy would bring them extra cost, the government insist the new arrangement will come with no cost to the importer.
President of GIFF, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah, however, says it may head to court to stop Ghana Revenue Authority from continuing the policy which started on July 1 this year.
The Ghana Institute of Freight forwarders is one of the main groups strongly against the policy. They argued the CTN is not only a duplication of the existing platform but will also increase the cost of doing business at the port.
President of the Institute of Freight Forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah said the GRA has only succeeded in creating confusion with the introduction of the CTN.
“When we started the conversation on CTN, we came to town with a position paper and that position expanded the scope of the discussion. We didn’t end at just stating what was wrong with how GRA was going to implement it but recommended what can be done to cure the mischief around it. We suggested an upgrade of the MANIFEST STRUCTURE from 1993 to the 2011 one,” he said.
“So if you have a solution and that solution is going to create a parallel bureaucracy, and there is a platform that can conveniently take that solution why don’t allow this solution to be laid on a known platform”? – Mr Ofosu Appiah lamented