GUTA issues 2-week ultimatum to government to end alleged harassment of members by GRA

The Ghana Union of Traders’ Associations, GUTA has given the government a two-week ultimatum to address allegations of harassment and intimidation of its members by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) during the transportation of goods to the Ashanti Region from the ports.

According to GUTA, this situation has led to the closure of numerous businesses in the region and the relocation of others.

The association is particularly concerned about the continued harassment along the Accra-Kumasi and Takoradi-Kumasi routes, which has persisted since 2022.

During a press conference in Kumasi, Maxwell Bamfo, the Ashanti Regional Financial Secretary of GUTA, emphasised the challenges faced by traders on the Accra-Kumasi road.

He pointed out that both Regional and National task forces operate anyhow, compounding the difficulties faced by traders.

Mr Bamfo also highlighted challenges on the Takoradi-Kumasi route, particularly after the Anwiankwata barrier.

He noted that goods, which have had their duties properly paid and cleared at the port, are often seized by Customs task forces, resulting in extortion, delays, and re-examinations that lead to substantial penalties for the goods’ owners.

“The same applies to the Takoradi-Kumasi road beyond the Anwiankwata barrier. Goods with duties duly paid and cleared at the port are many a time arrested by the Task forces of the Customs leading to extortion, delays and re-examinations which result to heavy penalties slapped on owners of the goods” he said.

Furthermore, Mr Bamfo explained that confiscated containers are frequently taken to the Aboabo yard of Customs, where owners are compelled to offload and reload at their own expense.

This incurs significant financial losses for traders due to demurrage charges, transportation costs, offloading and reloading expenses, as well as penalties that can reach up to 300 per cent.

Anthony Oppong, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of GUTA, expressed worry about this situation and warned that if the government does not intervene within two weeks, a massive protest will be organized in the region.

He pointed out that numerous businesses in the Ashanti Region have already shut down due to the discriminatory measures enforced by the Customs Division of GRA.

Mr. Oppong mentioned that GUTA has reported the issue to all relevant authorities, but the responses thus far have been inadequate.

Consequently, if no action is taken by the end of the two-week deadline, all shops in the region will be closed in protest against the unfair treatment by Customs, which is having a detrimental impact on businesses in the Ashanti Region.

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