Freight forwarding associations blamed for foreigners’ engagement in port clearance

Samson Asaki Awingobit

Mr Samson Asaki Awingobit, the Executive Secretary, Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG), has blamed freight forwarding companies and associations for the influx of foreigners in port clearance business.

“These companies and associations had to be blamed because although they are aware of the laws of Ghana forbidding foreigners to engage in freight forwarding, they issue them with letters that enables them to clear their goods instead of looking for an agent,” he said.

“When you go to these foreign companies, they have letters coming from freight forwarding institutions like the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, the Association of Customs Housing Agents Ghana, the Customs Brokers Association Ghana, and the Freight Forwarders Association of Ghana”.

Mr Awingobit, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema, expressed worry over the practice, indicating the number of clearing agents hanging around in the long room at Tema Port without any work to do, while the foreigners had taken over their jobs.

“Not that there is no business in this country, but the chunk of the clearing business has gone to these foreigners,” he said.

He explained that reserving the port clearing work for locals was no discrimination and that comparatively, no freight forwarder from Ghana had access to the Port of Lomé, Togo to clear their goods since it was a reserve for only nationals.

Mr Awingobit said even in Nigeria, when Ghanaian traders went there for goods, the Nigerians had to buy those goods for them.

“I find it difficult to understand why things are different in Ghana even though the same laws covered clearance in the country.”

“Can you go to the port of China and clear? You go to our ports in Ghana and Lebanese are clearing. Can you go to Lebanon and clear goods as a Ghanaian? All manner of people, persons, enter our port and clear, this is unacceptable,” he queried.

He called on the freight forwarding associations to be resolute in ensuring that none of their members issued letters to any foreigner to clear goods at the various ports in Ghana.

That would help preserve jobs for Ghanaians, he added.

Source: GNA

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