The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Mr Sampson Awingobit, has pointed out that some shipping lines operating in Ghana are charging import duties way above the prescribed Bank of Ghana-approved rate.
According to him, the central bank has pegged the import duties between GHS5.4 and GHS5.5 per dollar, however, the shipping lines, which he failed to name, are charging between GHS5.8 and GHS5.9 per dollar.
He said on the Executive Breakfast show on Class 91.3FM on Tuesday, 21 January 2021 that it smacks of criminality for which the BoG and other state security agencies must intervene and arrest the culprits for prosecution.
“If you go to Tema, where I operate from,” he told host Benjamin Akapko, “some shipping companies are locally handling charges around GHS5.8 and GHS5.9”.
“I raised these issues and the BoG, EOCO and the National Security sit there and nobody goes after those people.”
He added: “If the BoG is trading at GHS5.5 or 5.4 to calculate customs duties and the shipping lines are using GHS5.9 and GHS5.8, why is that nobody is going after them?”
Touching on the Forex Committee formed by the Ministry of Finance to investigate the fall of the cedi against the major trading currencies, Mr Awingobit said the formation of the committee was needless because the issues affecting the local currency were well-known by the BoG and the Ministry of Finance.
“We have the Bank of Ghana which looks at monetary policy, we have the Ministry of Finance which also looks at fiscal policies. So, now, the BoG and the Ministry of Finance have to work in coherence.”
“Are you telling me that the BoG is not aware of the group of people on the black market that when the BoG sets the daily rate for the banks, the banks also turn to direct people to go to the black market to trade?”, he continued.
“Is this committee coming to say: ‘Arrest the Aljhajis at the black market and prosecute them? The BoG is aware of these issues, they know about these things happening on the black market”.
Prescribing another solution, he said: “We need to look at our manufacturing aspect, we need to look at export. Currently, we are lacking in export. We don’t have so much non-traditional commodities that we are exporting. We need to go to the non-traditional ones more.”
For his part, Mr Joe Jackson, Director of Strategy and Business Operations at Dalex Finance, said Ghana must adopt policies that ensure that more dollars are brought into the country.
“The issue is not that somebody is playing with your dollar. The issue is that, as a nation, we don’t bring in enough dollars. The dollars we bring in, where do they go?”, he questioned
He added: “That 40-member committee, I don’t know whatever they are going to say that we don’t already know. I was in the economics department, first year, at the university in 1985, and everything this committee is going to say we already know them.”