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Board To Decongest Tema, Takoradi Ports   
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The Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) is to begin an exercise to decongest the country’s seaports with the expected auctioning of 6,000 containers at the Tema and the Takoradi Harbors.

The containers have overstayed their stipulated time at the two harbors. According to the RAGB, the containers would be auctioned before the end of the year as part of a sustained programme to ensure the speedy clearance of goods.

The acting Executive Secretary of the board, Mr. Sam Sallas-Mensah, explained to the Daily Graphic that the action had become necessary because seaports in the country had become some of the busiest in the sub-region. “We are seeking approval from the Chief of Staff to get the containers auctioned because they have overstayed their duration at the port and are creating a lot of congestion,” he said. Some of the items believed to be in the containers are vehicles, cloths, home/office appliances, perishables among others.

On how the auction would be conducted, Mr. Sallas-Mensah said a committee would be formed to undertake the exercise Although he stated that registered auctioneers would not be left out of the exercise, he did not specify which would be brought on board, since that would be determined by the committee. Mr. Sallas-Mensah said when the auction was completed, the board would put in place measures to ensure that the ports were not congested at any point in time to allow the free flow of goods.

“While we do this, we will ensure that we also maximise revenue generated from the ports to enable the government to meet its revenue target,” he said. There have been reports to the effect that containers that overstayed at the ports are secretly taken away by a syndicate that operates at the port. Against that background and more, the board directed that no container was to leave any of the country’s major ports in Tema and Takoradi between 6 p.m and 6 a.m.

The directive, which was issued last week, was to take immediate effect and was intended to block any revenue leakage at the ports. A letter dated June 23, 2009 from Mr. Sallas-Mensah to the Commissioner of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) said, “In order to safeguard revenue, you are kindly requested to issue a directive to all your officers at the ports to desist, henceforth, from allowing the removal of containers from the port after 6 p.m.” He said the board had observed that containers were being smuggled out of the ports in the night.
Source: Daily Graphic

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