COVID-19: Port kept open for national economic survival

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The essence of keeping Ghana’s sea port open is to ensure the nation’s economic survival in terms of revenue mobilization, hence the relevance of continues cargo clearing at the port amidst ongoing temporary restrictions on movements of persons in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic .

Port users are being encouraged to continue to clear all goods at Ghana’s sea ports since cargo movements are exempted from the current restrictions on movements of persons in Ghana.

According to Esther Gyebi Donkor, General Manager, Marketing and Corporate Affairs of GPHA   on Eye on Port live interactive panel discussion, the Port is clearing every type of cargo.

“We have not limited any of the cargo types. The protocols we have put in place have tried to reduce the number of people that come to the port at the same time to clear cargoes. But every type of cargo is being cleared at the Port,” she said.

She advised cargo owners to liaise effectively with freight forwarders and truckers to clear their goods from the port.

“We have the clearing and forwarding agents who clear cargoes for importers so what we are encouraging them to do is for the importers to allow their agents to come in with the truck drivers to clear their cargoes for them unless it is very critical for the importers to be present.”

The Tema Sector Commander of Customs, Joseph Adu-Kyei echoed the relevance of continued cargo clearance in Ghana’s port in revenue mobilisation for the state especially in these critical moments.

“Government needs revenue so those who have goods at the port should come and pay so that government can get the revenue. Revenue is nose diving and it is a serious issue so please be patriotic and come and clear your goods,” he encouraged.

COVID-19 Permits

However, the two major institutions steering affairs at Ghana’s port maintained the importance of continuing its COVID-19 permit systems to ensure that the number of port users within this period of the pandemic is reduced.

Although opposed by the freight forwarding fraternity who said they would prefer their permanent biometric port passes to be sufficient for use, Customs and GPHA, explained that the permit will allow them to separate those who have critical engagement at the port from those have not.

Joseph Adu-Kyei emphasized that contrary to speculations, his outfit is flexible in giving out these passes to freight forwarders, importers and drivers who have legitimate business to do during this period of restricted movements.

He also revealed that the timespan of these new COVID-19 passes have been made indefinite.

“If you have goods to clear at the port, come to our office and we shall issue you with a pass which has no timeline,” he said.

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