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10.02.2009 Business & Finance

Chamber of commerce backs CEPS

By Daily Guide

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries has underlined the need for government to address the unnecessary delays and high cost of clearing goods at the ports.

To this end, the Chamber backed calls for a one-stop shop facility by allowing the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) to resume its core functions of classification and valuation of goods.

In a statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Salathiel Doe Amegavie said it was “logical for CEPS to play its classification and valuation roles again to dominate the unnecessary payments of monies to middlemen and private companies as well as the falsification of documents.

“This will leave CEPS to deal properly and directly with importers, freight forwarders and other business people,” he added.

Mr. Amegavie was optimistic that the proposed one-stop-shop facility by CEPS would encourage the smooth running of business and bring tremendous relief to stakeholders at the ports since importers and freight forwarders would be spared the agony of paying money at different places with all its frustrations.

The one-stop-shop facility was expected to be introduced on January I, 2009.

While awaiting the implementation of this policy, Mr. Amegavie asked CEPS to position itself for a smooth take-off. He said CEPS must be well equipped to embrace the challenges ahead.

It would be recalled that following representations from CEPS, Government supported the services to obtain the necessary IT tools, and enhance its human capacity to resume its core functions of classification and valuation of goods since late last year.

CEPS officials are currently operating purpose designed Valuation Complex at North Ridge in Accra.

The Commissioner of CEPS, Emmanuel Doku, had said the investment required for CEPS to do the job of classification and valuation had been made and that the officers were now ready to perform their duty. These officers, he said, had been carrying out live classifications and valuations of goods for the last three months or so.

Mr. Doku emphasised that the service had made significant investments in the training of our officers both within and outside Ghana.

“I can therefore confidently say that we are ready to meet any challenges that may crop up even during the transitional phase of the project.”

The Ghana Customs Brokers Association, Ghana Union Traders Association, and Ghana Freight Forwarders Association have all called on the government to give the green light to CEPS to resume its classification and valuation roles immediately to save them from frustrations and high cost implications in clearing goods at the ports.

This, they believed, would drastically minimize corruption and enhance revenue generation for the state.