The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders as an association is the largest body of Ghanaian freight forwarders. The GIFF Levy is a subscription fee paid by all members of the GIFF association. Initially, the levy was part of the duty to be paid by freight forwarders but due the quite cumbersome process in obtaining declaration reports from Customs division for cross-checking purposes, the levy was taken off the duty to be paid separately by members. In an interview conducted by Odomankoma; a Ghanaian maritime dedicated news portal, with the President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr. Edward Akrong, revealed that the cumbersome process required an advanced means to collect subscriptions from members. Over the period, the Customs division agreed to host the association on the GCNet platform where levies will reflect on printed declarations and collected effectively. However, he said that the initiative was cancelled because the levy was not sanctioned by parliament and could not appear on the face of the customs declaration. Again, it was realized that members transferred the burden of payment to clients which also led to the cancellation of the levy from the GCNet.
The cancellation of the levy brought about some financial constraints which led the association to suggest another effective means to collect subscriptions from members. The association assured the Customs division that it will see to it that members do not transfer the levy to clients and so they were put back onto the GCNet. The levy was then printed on a second sheet separately from declarations to ensure that the cost is not transferred to clients. However, members defaulted payment because there was no blocker-factor to ensure effective payment.
The association therefore initiated an Enterprise Resource Plan (ERP), a more digitized and technological means to enable levies to be collected at the maximum. The association was also provided with an application by the GCNet to give the GIFF secretariat easy access to declarations of members once the system is queried. The application was designed in a way that it pinged members of unpaid levies but members still defaulted payment. “All this while, it means we had been taken off from the platform” said Mr. Akrong.
According to Mr. Akrong, “we still did not have a blocker factor because that could not stop members from breaking”. However, with the introduction of ICUMS, the Customs division agreed to put back the association levies unto the platform to enable effective payment by members of the association. Currently, the levy is Gh10 per declaration and is a major source of finance for the association.