Members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) in the Ashanti region have reiterated their decision to stage a massive demonstration if the government and all relevant stakeholders do not take immediate and decisive measures to address what they describe as ongoing discrimination and intimidation by officials of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The group has thus issued a two-week ultimatum to both the government and the Customs Division of the GRA to find a permanent solution to their concerns.
They add that if their demands are not met within this timeframe, they have threatened to close their shops and proceed with a massive protest.
According to the group, they are compelled to pay additional charges at various checkpoints while transporting their goods to the Ashanti region after clearing them from the port.
They argue that these extra charges, which are eroding their business capital, seem to be specific to the Ashanti region.
They believe that there is a deliberate attempt to undermine their businesses in the region, leading to the alleged instances of intimidation and extortion.
Speaking at a news conference in Kumasi, the Ashanti regional chairman of GUTA, Anthony Oppong explained that the group has engaged in numerous unsuccessful discussions with relevant authorities, which has informed their decision to take action against these authorities to compel them to address their grievances.
“People are gathered here this morning because of what is considered discrimination by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority. We all go to the ports and do the same duties that our counterparts in the other regions do but when you are on your way to Kumasi, we have the official Custom barriers at Bunso and then Kumasi and we are often stopped by both the national and regional task force and made to pay before we are released which does not happen to our counterparts from other regions.”