Few weeks to the general elections, some exporters, importers and clearing agencies at the Tema Port have disclosed to Citi Business News that economic activities have slowed down.
According to them, the general economic boom that is experienced few weeks to the end of the year has slowed down compared to the same period last year.
Speaking to Citi Business News, the Director of Hans Shipping Company, Prince Agyemang Otu stated that importers are skeptical about the outcome of the general elections, hence holding on.
Slowdown in Tema Long Room
“Activities here is unusually slow because a lot of the importers are trying to play safe, it’s an election year, there are so many uncertainties and people are not trying to bring so many things just so that they come and lock up. They are just trying to play safe,” he said.
He explained that in every year during the fourth quarter, business activities at the Tema Port picks up significantly because it is during the period that importers increase their orders to meet demand for the festive season, as well as the first quarter of the next year.
“But I can tell you the slow in activities now is due to the elections. Importers will always want to know things have settled down because nobody wants to lose. It’s the uncertainties,” he said.
He stated that even though the Long Room which is the place for processing documents appears busy, it is not in full operation compared to the previous year.
“But for the elections which I think have slowed activities you would seen the Custom Officers overwhelmed by the large number of people at the Long Room,” he said.
Some blame tariffs and taxes
Meanwhile, the CEO of Koro Shipping Company, Alhaji Baba Alhassan, told Citi Business even though the coming election is a major contributor in the slowdown of activities, high tariffs and taxes have also led to the slowdown.
“Look at this, this is declaration that is paying GHS186, 000. Just one container of a product, you see GHS186, 000. The Shipping line pays aboutGHS20, 000. You pay lots of taxes, some GHS2, 200 some GHS1500,” he lamented.
He maintained that the level of taxes and tariffs imposed this year have caused a lot of inconveniences to importers.
GSA also bemoans low activities
It appears the general sentiment of the clearing agencies are not different from observations made by the Ghana Shippers Authority(GSA).
Speaking to Citi Business News, the CEO of the Authority, Kofi Mbia expressed the view that the slowdown could affect revenue mobilization.
“When we look at activities at the port presently, you realize that there is not that sharp activity that characterizes this time of the year, so we fear that once again the election fever, people having a wait and see attitude people may not be exporting as much as they would have,” he said.
Reacting to the effect on revenue, Mr. Mbia retorted “If it affects business activities, it will affect revenue. We have to work on preaching the peace message to give the business environment more confidence”.
Listen to report here
By: Lawrence Segbefia/Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana