Ashanti GUTA to lead demo against GRA and customs over “harassment”

The Ashanti Regional chapter of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has threatened a planned protest against officials of the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

GUTA says this action is in response to what it describes as the ‘unjustified harassment’ of its members by customs officials at various entry points despite making their tax obligations.

The association believes the conduct of these officials is a subtle attempt to collapse businesses in the region.

The chairman of the Ashanti Regional chapter, Anthony Oppong, tells Asaase News that the situation is taking a toll on their businesses as it has forced most of their members to move their businesses to the national capital, Accra.

Oppong said “we see it as an agenda by some unscrupulous people to destroy businesses in the Ashanti Region. We will not allow it to happen. They can’t use their positions to intimidate and harass our businesses here in the Ashanti Region.

“There are situations where people have paid their duties [and] cleared their goods and the containers are impounded, taken to the Aboabo yard. When the container is placed there, it is at the convenience of the customs that they will open it, which adds up to the demurrage.

“Because of that now people are relocating to Accra. Magazine is quiet these days. You do not see any container being off-loaded because people prefer off-loading their containers in Accra than bringing them to Kumasi because of the harassment of the customs people.”

The leadership of GUTA is already in talks with the Ashanti Regional Security Council and other stakeholders to resolve the problem. Oppong has urged authorities in the region to resolve the problem by the end of March or face their wrath.

He said “we look forward to what will come out of the efforts of the regional minister. We have given ourselves till the end of this month if we don’t hear anything positive, we will organise a press conference and follow it with a massive demonstration.”

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