The Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) has cautioned importers and exporters to stop engaging in illegal activities during their shipping transactions, saying there will be no mercy for any shipper once a transaction has been classified as illegal.
According to the GSA, its offices across the country receive multiple complaints every year on shipping transactions gone bad and measures are put in place for investigations and mediation; but the authority is worried about the high level of illegal shipping transactions being recorded after the investigations.
The move has pushed the GSA to institute measures that sensitise shippers on the proper ways of the trade and enlighten them on some of the challenges they face, leading to the classification of some of their operations as illegal.
Shippers who under-declare the value of their goods to evade taxes, forge documents and engage in other breaches of the law will not be assisted by the GSA when they encounter challenges resulting from their illegal dealings.
Tax evasion, classified as a white-collar maritime crime, is said to be gaining prominence in the sector. Cases of shippers trying to evade taxes through false documentation or incorrect representation of cargo materials are increasing rapidly, posing a threat to maritime security.
According to the GSA, the nation is losing huge revenue as a result of such activities; therefore, stiffer penalties will be enforced to serve as a deterrent. Among these penalties are included banning a shipper from engaging in shipping activities; a huge fine; and also prosecution and sentencing of persons found culpable.
Tema Branch Manager of the GSA, Monica Josiah, sounded the caution during the 60th Volta Regional Shipper Committee (VRSC) meeting for members of the Kpando Committee of the VRSC. She advised shippers to get their documentation processes right and abide by other regulatory requirements. This, she said, will elicit the GSA’s assistance to readily address shipment and logistics-related challenges faced by importers and exporters.
In a related development, Ms. Josiah also paid a courtesy call on the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the Kpando Municipal Assembly, Ernest Quist.
The two institutions discussed issues on areas of collaboration to deepen their relationship for the benefit of shippers and businesses in the municipality.
The Branch Manager, together with a team from the GSA, also visited potters in Kpando and interacted with them to understand their shipment concerns on export.