The Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA) says it would work collaboratively with the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) and other stakeholders within the shipping industry, and champion interventions that would inure to their mutual benefit.
Madam Benonita Bismarck, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GSA, said this in Accra on Friday when members of the National Executive of GUTA paid a working visit to the Ghana Shippers Authority.
The meeting is intended to introduce the new Executive of GUTA to the new CEO of the Authority and enhance the cordial working relations that existed between them.
Madam Bismarck congratulated the new Executive of GUTA and asked for God’s guidance to ensure a successful tenure.
The CEO of the GSA said she had tracked issues affecting GUTA for many years even before her appointment, and cited the Association’s protest over foreigners engaging in retail business in Ghana, which was reserved for only Ghanaians.
Madam Bismarck said: “There is the need for further collaboration between us and we appreciate the support we have received from you over the years, and some of your members are on our shipping committees.
“We’ll work with you and we don’t want it in a confrontational manner because it does not help anybody, but let’s dialogue and work together for the collective objective of the Ghanaian to be realised,”she said.
Madam Bismarck said, this year, the Authority would engage with its stakeholders to explain issues pertaining to its operations and listen to their concerns in order to better their lot.
She said the Authority would channel the grievances expressed by GUTA to the appropriate quarters for redress, saying; “We do appreciate the concerns you have raised and we’re not going to sweep it under the carpet, and we have taken introspection and something would be done about it”.
Dr Joseph Obeng, the National President of GUTA, said the Association was a major stakeholder in the trading community and had cordial relation with the GSA over the years.
He assured the Association’s unflinching support and co-operation to the new CEO, saying; “We’re going to trust you and we seek that you also trust us because when trust is established all the other things will follow”.
Dr Obeng said there was the need for continuous dialogue and stakeholder engagements so that together, they could promote an agenda that would be mutually beneficial.
He complained that the GSA had been distanced from traders and said the Association would avail its offices and channels of communications to the GSA so that it could address its concerns.
Dr Obeng said the Association was not happy with the government’s intention to introduce Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) because it would overburden importers and result in increase in prices of imported goods.
The President of GUTA said importers and traders were already overburdened by many duties and levies, therefore, any new charges on imported goods would collapse their businesses.
“There are about 16 levies and the recent addition of AU levy, which has created a lot of inconveniences for traders.
“Ghanaian importers are being abused and we have been complaining about the Port Handling Charges, Terminal Charges and Demurrages and that the shipping lines have taken undue advantage of us.
“We pay one of the highest freights in the world and many things do not favour us and so we want you to think through all these concerns and be our mouthpiece,” he said.
GUTA was established in 1989 as the umbrella body of traders in Ghana to protect and champion the welfare of its members.
It works collaboratively with the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, ministries, departments and agencies, as well as local and international organizations to accomplish its objectives.
Other affiliate members of GUTA include the Ghana Spare Parts Association, the Ghana Electronic and Electrical Dealers Association and Mobile Phone Accessories Dealers Association.