The Ghana Union of Traders Association, GUTA has described the scheduled 11 percent tariff increment for cargo handling at the Terminal Three of the Tema Port as a scam and a dubious means by the shippers authority to tax traders.
According to the Greater Accra branch of the traders union, the expected increment which is expected to take effect next month will increase the cost of shipping.
The Meridian Port Services, operators of the new Terminal 3 at the Tema Port, made a proposal to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority recently for an upward adjustment of tariffs on container handling due to what it considers to be a fulfillment of an agreement in a contract with GPHA.
Sources within the Transport Ministry have disclosed say there has been an agreement between the government and MPS to finally allow the increase in return for the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority (GPHA) to retain 20 percent of container cargo volumes at the Ports.
This gesture they say is to enable the GPHA to retain jobs that were going to be lost if MPS took over all the container cargo volumes at the ports with the opening of the Terminal 3 as stated in the concession agreement.
But the General Secretary of the Greater Accra Regional branch of GUTA, Nana Poku believes the increment would be an additional cost to their operations.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The New Publisher in Accra yesterday said, they will oppose and demonstrate against authorities if the government goes ahead to implement the increment.
“The reason we opposing against this tariff increment is very simple, when they completed the new terminal 3 at tema port. We were assured of no additional charges. So why another turn of levelling charge unto these traders? It is not worth doing all these.
”We are strongly opposed to the tariff adjustment which will also affect export cargoes, considering the fact that exports are cost sensitive and for that, attempts to increase tariffs will make the country’s ports unattractive which will impact negatively on government’s new port strategy. We will do all we could to let this government see the increase taxation isn’t the best.” he said.
Mr. Poku disclosed that members of his association, who used their energy and resources to help the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to win power, are regretting bitterly.
”The association is by this sounding a final notice to President Nana Akufo-Addo, whom we collectively helped to win political power in 2016. If the Security agencies do not stop harassing us, we will advise ourselves when they come around.
”Under our own government, we are being harassed by security agencies, pushing us out of business. We are by this serving a final notice to government to stop harassing us, else we will spit fire on them”, he warned.