Opinions of Monday, 8 March 2021
Columnist: Joel Savage
Almost every Ghanaian leader, including Nana Akufo Addo, on various platforms in both the country and outside Ghana, has encouraged Ghanaians in the Diaspora not to forget about where they come from but must also help to build the country, yet, things have never been easy for them either to clear goods at the ports or set up a business in the country, due to high tariffs.
Ghana has a lot of natural rich resources able to sustain the economy, build enough schools and medical facilities but because of massive corruption, which involves the diversion of proceeds from the resources to private banks by individuals and many politicians, the malpractices have created a shortage of funds to maintain the ports, therefore, they find it necessary to increase tariffs to help recover investments.
On July 5 and 12, 2020, programs tagged “Habor Issues with GUTTA,” appeared simultaneously on local television, “Ghaspora TV” hosted by a Ghanaian journalist, Mr. Simon ‘Bonsafo’ Bawua, in Antwerp, Belgium, to discuss harbour serious problems that need an immediate solution, yet successive Ghanaian governments, including the administration of Nana Akufo Addo, have ignored. Reference: ‘Juskosave’s Ghana Crowdsourcing News’ article: https://juskosave.blogspot.com/2020/08/ghana-harbor-issues-300-customs-duty.html
On the program, a Ghanaian businessman appeared in a video, to speak out about the neglected harbour issues in Ghana, humbly requesting viewers to share the video with everyone because he considers Ghanaian governments and politicians’ very wicked people.
According to him, there is no work in Ghana, thus; many people have to struggle to find their way, the reason some of them are in Europe today, yet it’s not easy to live in Europe, since many Ghanaians have to undertake two to three jobs to survive.
“After the struggle, one who purchases a second-hand car at the cost of $2,000, pays $1,500 for the freight, and when the car reaches the harbour in Ghana, you are requested to pay customs duty of $7,000 or $8,000, so as a reasonable person, why Ghanaian leaders are wicked to that extent?” He asked.
“Why Ghanaian leaders have that type of wicked character of not thinking of people who are suffering?” He asked. He lamented on the hopeless situation of importers and exporters, accusing the Ghanaian leaders of taking the harbours as their “Cocoa farms,” to enrich themselves, at the expense of sufferers.”
He stressed further that ” due to the over-duty tax imposed on cars, vehicles are sold at auction because the owners can’t afford the cost to clear the vehicle from the ports.” How can the lack of effective leadership and corruption bring such unfortunate circumstances for importers?
In Europe, the prices of second-hand cars reflect on the date the car was first registered. Thus, if you can’t afford a two-year-old car, you can make a purchase of one between three to six years.
Since in Ghana, you can’t take a vehicle older than 10 years into the country, it is likely that you can buy an eight-year-old car at 2,000 Euros, but when the vehicle gets to Ghana, customs duty levied on the vehicle could be about 8,000 Euros, that is 300% more than the purchase price.
This is one of the problems associated with the Ghana Ports Authority for a very long time but according to sources, the problems have increased, a situation many Ghanaian entrepreneurs and businessmen are describing as “from frying pan to fire,” under the government of Nana Akufo Addo.
Ghanaian politicians, like all African politicians, pretend they care about the people but confidently, I can say that Ghanaian politicians, like all African politicians, are inspired by politics just to enrich themselves. They have no conscience, integrity, and empathy.
If Ghanaian politicians care about both Ghanaians at home and those in the Diaspora, the unemployment rate in the country will not be so high, while Africans in the Diaspora pay abnormal high customs duty on goods brought into the country.
Nobody expects magic overnight in any administration but if for decades, the government comes and go, without things improving in the country, that means the leaders are either inefficient or corrupt, yet these are the words Ghanaian politicians don’t want to hear.
Why Ghanaians in the Diaspora continue to face these problems if the money remitted into the country plays a major role in sustaining Ghana’s economy? And why do successive governments keep advising Ghanaians in the Diaspora to help Ghana grow, yet nobody seems to care about the problems they encounter in Ghana?
It is inconceivable to me that Ghana has no future, however, if it has then Nana Akufo Addo should prove it to make things better for the suffering Ghanaians and those living outside Ghana.