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Freight forwarders urge Ghana to extend demurrage free period

Resource:The SiteDate:2019/4/24 Click:0

Importers and freight forwarders are calling on the government in Ghana to extend from seven days the demurrage free period for clearing goods at the nation's ports to 21 days, in an effort to significantly lower the cost of doing business at sea ports.

"While I am commending government for reducing import duties at Ghana's designated ports, I will appeal to President Akuffo-Addo to extend the seven-day demurrage free clearing period to 21 days to make the port very friendly for business," said Reliable Air Cargo Service operations manager Daniel Kwadwo Yeboah.

Vice President Mohamudi Bawumia announced the government directive at a town hall meeting organised by the economic management team that the benchmark values of all imports from April 4 attracted a 50 per cent reduction but 30 per cent cut for cars, reported the Ghana News Agency.

According to Mr Yeboah, delays and sometimes practical realities at the port rendered the seven lay days too short and virtually impossible to clear goods. This meant that the payment of demurrage that could work out to be more expensive than the duties levied.

He said some importers were able to negotiate for the extension of lay days, however, but he described that as being a "privilege", adding that the positive effects could only be realised when it became enforceable.

He also urged the officials of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to work on weekends as well as beyond 6pm to accelerate the clearance of port cargo.

The freight forwarder pointed out that importers using Lome port enjoyed 21 lay days, thereby making that port more competitive than ports in Ghana.