The Ghana Union of Traders (GUTA) has called on its members to stand firm against any attempts at harassment or intimidation by Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) officials.
The union has alleged that the GRA has been seizing their shipments in transit from Accra to other regions on suspicions of goods underreporting.
The President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, voiced his concerns at a press conference, stating that the GRA has not provided any valid justification for these actions against traders.
“A few days ago our Ashanti region branch issued a press conference on this constant harassment and intimidation of traders in the region by GRA officers after their cargoes had passed through the due clearing processes at the port of Tema and released them to them.
“The GRA cannot assign any cogent reason for the harassment of the traders in the Ashanti region apart from their usual flimsy explanation that the Ashanti region only contributes only about 12% to the national revenue.
“They also claim that they do not understand why goods in the Ashanti region are cheaper than those in the Greater Accra region; failing to recognize the simple fact that purchasing power and demand for goods and services in Accra are higher than any part of the country,” he said.
During a subsequent radio interview on Joy FM’s Midday News, Dr. Joseph Obeng revealed that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) officials and other relevant stakeholders have been informed about the harassment faced by traders.
Despite these notifications, their concerns have yet to be adequately addressed.
“Yes, we’ve done everything. We’re almost always in touch with GRA complaining about these issues. As a matter of fact, we made a whole seminar out of it, we went to Kumasi at the Golden Tulip, now Lancaster Hotel on the 8th of June and all the stakeholders were there, and we talked about this issue.
“They said they’re going to stop and it’s still persisting. It means that they’re not taking it seriously and that we have to take our destiny into our hands,” he said.
Furthermore, he emphasized that if the harassment and intimidation continue, traders have been advised to firmly resist such actions through any means available to them.
“Pure resistance, simple resistance that you do not allow anybody to come and harass and intimidate you by telling you to come and bring your goods for further examination where you have paid the legitimate duty at the port and all that.
“The Kumasi people have been told not to allow those things to happen to them again. And that if they do it to individuals, then collectively all of us will come on board and agitate and whatever resistance that we’ll put up will be for your imagination,” Dr Obeng said.