The President of the Association of Custom House Agents of Ghana, Yaw Kyei, has entreated members of the freight forwarding fraternity to maintain integrity in carrying out their duties.
He made this admonition while assessing the paperless system during a one-year review forum in Accra.
The President of ACHAG said, he is pleased with the progress that has been made by the Paperless initiative saying it has reduced cost and improved the ease of doing business.
Yaw Kyei, admitted that, although there are some challenges associated with other stakeholders in the paperless system, some responsibility should be taken by freight forwarders.
He revealed that, some illegal practices of fellow freight forwarders make the system cumbersome and impossible for the trade community to harness the full benefits of the system.
“This brings me to the point of my own people, I must confess that we have been a great stumbling block to achieving the 50% mandatory inspections. I can sight examples of my people who have been arrested for misdescriptions, non-disclosures, in some cases misapplication of HS codes,” he said.
He asked that, regulatory agencies should endeavor to put in place adequate punitive measures that would deter potential culprits.
“Those arrested should be severely punished and publicly shamed. Alternatively, those who are regularly compliant should also be highly motivated to rope in others to do same. I also highly recommend strengthening of intelligence network at the ports”, he added.
He said the behaviors of some unscrupulous agents eclipse the reputation of the good, law-abiding ones.
The President of ACHAG, urged importers to consult reputable agents so that they would never fall in the hands of the wrong ones.
“While saying this, we also encourage importers to go to properly furnished offices. Let’s stop just seeing anybody walking by the roadside or holding a bag. At times they even negotiate duties and charges as if it is tomatoes you are buying from the market,” he expressed.
He urged the freight forwarders that once everyone does the right things, the state would retrieve its due revenue, and importers would have faith in the system, which would in turn bring more business to the industry.
“Whether we like it or not, it goes against all of us, so I am taking this opportunity to advice our clearing agents, please let us organized ourselves better, let us have offices, let us manage our business. Whether we like it or not there is money in this business, we have to frank. It is a service area where you can make money if you organize yourself better.”