The Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Isaac Crentsil, has directed all business operators to deal directly with customs officers and not intermediaries commonly known as ‘Goro Boys’ that transact business on their behalf.
He asked truck drivers and traders to go straight to the custom officers to have their documents inspected and stamped instead of depending on ‘goro boys’ which comes with extra cost.
At the Ghana-Burkina Faso border, the agents used to charge an amount of 10,000 CFA for the service which increases the cost of doing business in the country in general.
With this intervention by the Commissioner, no trader or truck driver would pay any amount.
He said that the drivers could easily deal with customs officers without any difficulties instead of the agents or goro boys at the Ghana-Burkina Faso border, who pose as middlemen and transact business between custom officers and transit truck drivers.
According to him, the agents only collect their documents and send them to customs officers for inspection and subsequent stamping at the aforementioned fee.
The commissioner issued the directive when he made an unannounced visit to the Paga-Dakola border to have first-hand information on activities at the border.
The trip was made after the Board Chairman of GPHA, Peter Mac Manu, led a delegation made up of the Director-General of GPHA, CEO of Ghana Shippers Authority, Director of Tema Port, the General Manager of Marketing and Corporate Affairs of GPHA and other stakeholders, on a trade mission to Burkina Faso.
The unannounced visit followed week-long engagement with the government and business community in Burkina Faso.
Immediately after the customs boss made the announcement, drivers and traders who use the border become extremely elated.
The directive was given after several complaints were made to the delegation which visited the Burkina Faso-Ghana border.
An official notice, Mr Crentsil noted, would be communicated to all custom officers at the borders to ensure strict compliance.
The Burkina Faso government, traders, truck drivers’ advocates of smooth trade within the ECOWAS corridors like the Bordeless Alliance, USAID, have already applauded Ghana for the laudable intervention to promote trade between Ghana and other landlocked countries.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Benonita Bismarck, on his part, was optimistic the directive by the Commissioner of Customs would go a long way to make Ghana corridors attractive to business operators.
She said Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), which is mandated to protect shippers in Ghana, has advocated against the practice.
She added that with such a move, Ghana’s competitiveness in the transit business would be enhanced.
The acting Director General of GPHA, Paul Asare Ansah, commended customs for the significant role in ensuring that trade between Ghana and its neighbours grow.
He said in the year 2016, Ghana Ports was able to increase the transit traders by 59 percent.
He was of the view that removing goro boys from the borders, coupled with limited harassment by security agencies on the corridor, would help increase the number of businesses from neighbouring landlocked countries, who use the ports of Ghana for import and export.
Drivers, traders and others received the news with joy and applauded Ghana’s efforts in maintaining trade relations with her neighbours.
By Vincent Kubi