The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG) has expressed deep concern over a recent development at the country's ports, where the government, through the Veterinary Services Department, has introduced a burdensome levy that could significantly impact importers and the business community.
The Association criticised the introduction of the Veterinary Import levy, emphasising that it appears to have been implemented without thorough consideration.
According to a memo from the Veterinary Services Department, importers of frozen products are now required to register and seek import approval by stating product quantity and country of origin before submitting consignment documents through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) for verification.
IEAG, in a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, Samson Asaki Awingobit, highlighted the excessive financial implications of this levy. Importers of frozen products will be forced to pay between GHS2,500 to GHS2,800 for each container of frozen food, in addition to GHS200 for inspection and GHS500 for lab tests. This amounts to almost GHS4000 for the Veterinary Import Levy per container, he stated.
Mr. Awingobit criticised the high costs imposed on importers for services that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) was previously handling at a significantly lower rate.
He questioned whether this move was an indication of the FDA's perceived ineffectiveness or if it was part of a revenue-boosting strategy by the government.
The IEAG warned that if this levy is not revoked promptly, importers would be compelled to pass the additional costs onto consumers, resulting in a notable increase in the prices of goods and services.
They urged the government to reconsider this levy, emphasising its adverse impact on the already struggling maritime industry.