Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki Awingobit, has described as “uncalled for” agitations by shipping lines over the increment of Safety charges by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA).
“For me, I think that it is uncalled for for the shipping companies to say they are going to pass the cost unto the final consumer. It is the safety of their vessels they should think about and not the other” he said.
Mr. Awingobit also believes the cost is a reasonable one, since it is to secure the safety of vessels and goods at sea.
The Ghana Maritime Authority has served notice it will from next month (October) increase the safety charge for shippers from 15 to 50 cents, a charge the shipping lines have described as astronomical.
According to them, the 200 percent increment is harsh, and so they would be forced to pass on the cost to their clients.
But speaking to Citi Business News, Mr. Asaaki Awingobit said the increment is just right.
“The shipping lines should note that when their vessels are en route Ghana’s waters and there is piracy, there is robbery at sea within Ghana’s territorial area, investors will not come to this country to do business hence the government must do everything possible to protect the safety of those at sea as well as the goods” he added.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Maritime Authority has said it will go ahead with the planned increment.
A notice to shipping lines sighted by Citi Business News from the Authority stated that, with effect from 1st October, safety charges at the ports will be increased.
The safety charge is backed by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA)’s regulations passed in 2012, which allows the imposition of maritime safety fees and charges on installations, ships, pipelines, cables and other assets employed in the maritime domain.
Director General of the Authority, Kwame Owusu, told Citi Business News they will not back down with the increment.
In his view, the shipping lines have cheated government over the five-year period. This he says must be discontinued.
By: Jessica Ayorkor Aryee/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana.