The legitimacy of miscellaneous fees has been the subject of contention over many years without any clear verdict from the trading public.
Speaking on Eye on Port, Akwasi Serebour Boateng, an Executive Member of the Association of Customs House Agents, Ghana (ACHAG), said miscellaneous fees are fees that cover unexpected costs incurred by the clearing agent beyond the specific services contracted for.
“I’m loading 30 containers but I need to buy seals for these containers, that isn’t included in the tariff, so it’s miscellaneous,” he cited.
He continued saying, “miscellaneous are some petty costs we incur by ourselves.
There are times you have to go for appeal, times you have to submit samples at FDA. The transport involved moving around would constitute the miscellaneous.” Throwing more light on the subject, the Executive Secretary of the Concerned Freight Forwarders Association (CoFFA), Nana Fredua Agyemang Ofori-Atta, explained that miscellaneous cover the services outside the core clearing of the cargo.
He said, “some of these are dealings with the various MDAs. For example, if you have an office in Tema or Airport, you have to go to Standards or Food & Drug Authority at Legon, veterinary services around Lapaz to secure an import license or permit for the client. These involve cost and some running around.”
He stated however that, “ideally, miscellaneous fees should not be more than 30% of charge you’re taking. That’s the rule of thumb.”
Also contributing to the discourse, the Vice President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Johnny Mantey opined that high and unjustifiable miscellaneous fees are often the doing of unscrupulous unprofessional agents, and urged clients to be wary of such people.
He advised that importers should always approach the recognized freight forwarding associations or the customs or shippers authority for the list of agents in good standing, for which they can select from.
The Vice President of GIFF explained that not only does this not do away with potential cheating but also guarantees the right professionals for the job. “2000 cedis for example, for miscellaneous charges does not make sense. To avoid that always verify. There are scammers everywhere and this is same in every human institution.”
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