The Ghana Union of Traders Association’s (GUTA) President attributes the slowdown in port activity on how expensive doing business is.
According to Dr. Joseph Obeng, the cost of doing business is exceedingly high right now, which is discouraging for business owners because they are losing money instead of profiting when compared to their counterparts in neighboring nations.
As a result, he claimed, most companies now conduct business and purchase goods through the ports of nearby nations like Togo.
“The business that we do, we do not do it in isolation. We are doing it in competition with the neighbouring countries. With the continental free trade area. We are completely irrelevant and we are out of it because the cost of doing business is extremely, very high.
“Even among the cross-border trading activities that we do along the West Africa sub-region, we are also losing out. Even to Togo. That’s why you hear so many people going to Togo to buy goods every now and then.”
Dr Obeng further added that the inflation that was being experienced in Ghana was also attributable to the decline in traffic at the ports.
He explained that since the burden inflicted on both the trading community and consumers by inflation is excessive, it made the consumer unable to purchase products in the quantity that they used to do prior to inflation.
The effect of this on the trader, he highlighted, was that they also found it difficult to service their loans, which also affected their business.
“Trading thrives on turnover. And that if your turnover is curtailed because the consuming public’s purchasing power has been lessened because of the inflation that we have, are unable to buy the volumes that they used to buy, it means that we [the traders] are unable to service our loans because your turnover is curtailed,” he explained.
Additionally, he pointed out the disadvantages associated with the excessive taxation that was imposed on services at the port.
He stated that since some people would want to evade the taxes, they either smuggle their goods or avoid the mainstream ports and channel their goods through other areas.