The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has postponed the implementation date for Cargo Tracking Notes (CTN) to October 15, 2018.
The GRA, in a statement signed by the Commissioner – General Kofi Nti and issued on Thursday, said: “Following consultations between the GRA and key stakeholders, the Commissioner-General wishes to inform the trading public, importers, freight forwarders, shipping lines and other stakeholders that the effective date for implementation of Cargo Tracking Notes has been rescheduled to 15th October, 2018”.
Postponement of the implementation date, according to the GRA, is to allow for more consultation and sensitisation of all stakeholders with a view to building and deepening understanding and consensus; and to address all concerns raised by the trading community before the new date for implementation of the CTN.
The CTN, which is to be fully implanted next week, is being introduced by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to help in its revenue mobilisation functions and to block avenues for smuggling and related trade malfeasances at the country’s ports.
The directive basically requires that all imports into the country should be covered by the CTN, which gives a valid description of goods in the container.
Such a document will enable Customs to access all relevant information to help undertake valuation, keep track of all imports, and eradicate avenues for under-invoicing and smuggling.
The GRA Commissioner-General, in the statement, assured that there will be no fees or charges applicable to importers or shippers in Ghana or elsewhere associated with implementation of CTNs now or in the future.
Furthermore, the GRA has also committed to reimburse any fees charged any importer so far in association with implementation of the CTN.
“The Ghana Revenue Authority will inform all shippers abroad from Thursday that the “No CTN No Load” policy should be suspended until October 15th,” the statement said.
Resistance to CTN and strike
Implementation of the CTN system has faced stiff resistance from the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders with backing from sister-trade associations including: the Ghana Union of Trader Associations (GUTA), Food and Beverages Association of Ghana (FABAG) etc. on the grounds of cost and technical hitches they have identified with the system which have not yet been addressed.
GIFF and its allies, for instance, are of the view that the CTN, places cost on the shipper—whose duty it is to acquire the document to cover his/her consignment before goods can be cleared at destination ports.
They—freight forwarders—are also opposed to the idea that the cost of an intervention from government to address challenges in the goods clearance system at the ports should be borne by the already-burdened shipper, especially when there are other recommended avenues whereby Customs can access such information without necessarily placing a levy on their heads.
GIFF this week declared a 3-day strike to register their displeasure with the CTN system. This is what has forced a rethink of implementing the new cargo tracking policy.