NACSUL Detests Intense Propaganda Against GTMS

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Amidst mixed views for the shutdown of the contract entered into with the Liberian Government and the Container Tracking Network (CTN) through the National Port Authority and Global Tracking Maritime Solutions (GTMS), the National Civil Society Union of Liberia (NACSUL) says it has detested intense propaganda against the companies to get them out of the country, which was admitted to by the Managing Director of GTMS, Aminata Bangura, who decried propaganda from individuals within the government to ensure that the company exits the country.

    According to NACSUL, during the Senate hearing on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, Bangura dismissed the questions of legality of CTN operation in the country by indicating that in 2014 the company initially came to Liberia and met the head of the National Investment Commission (NIC) for a prospect to roll up its operation, but things did not materialize.

   The group stated that Bangura further revealed to the senators that, after several engagements, the NIC in 2016 embraced the idea of a potential investment in the country, which she said led to a tour of their operations in neighboring Sierra Leone by representatives of the NIC, Ministry of Finance, the Liberia Revenue Authority, Ministry of Commerce and other relevant entities of government, in order to assess their work in that part of the sub-region.

   “Following the assessment, Bangura said a contract was entered into between the Liberian government, through the National Port Authority, and the GTMS,” NACSUL noted.

   “GTMS Managing Director told the hearing that their term under the contract is mainly geared toward security tracking of containers and goods entering the country via the port, as well as providing data which have been used for revenue and charges by key entities, such as the LRA, Commerce, CBL amongst others.

   “Bangura added that their operation helps to better scrutinize cargo entering the nation’s ports in compliance with the international ship and port security (ISPS) Code, Part B of the Safety of Life at the Sea (SOLAS) Convention. She noted that GTMS is not a revenue-generating entity, but pays fees to the NPA as corporate social responsibility,” the civil society group revealed.

   “In terms of benefits to the country, Madam Bangura revealed that, based on the contract, GTMS paid an amount of US$1 million to the NPA, including other cooperate social fees which are squarely intended for security, lighting and basic requirements for safety at the port. With respect to the surcharges at the port based on the CTN operation, the MD alluded but registered that the company does not benefit from revenue from the surcharges; rather, it is based on their data provided that the custom representatives through LRA determine pricing and other fees.

   “However, she acknowledged that her company is willing to reduce fees charged based on collaboration by the relevant entities of government,” NACSUL said in a release issued Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

   Also, the NACSUL release revealed the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Sekou Dukuly, admitted to the legality of the CTN operations at the port, but registered that the current management has initiated a review of the contracts in order to have a deeper understanding of the agreement. “MD Dukuly at the same time admitted that CTN operations is needed at the port because of the services the company provides,” the release added.

   The release further noted that the LRA Commissioner General, Dorbor Jallah, began his testimony by saying that the LRA has no idea and is not a party to the GTMS contact, but further in the hearing Commissioner Jallah summersaulted that the LRA is aware of the CTN and that their services are needed.

   “In his reaction, Commerce and Industry Minister, Amin Modad, raised a red flag about the high fees as the result of the CTN operation at the port, and confessed that he and the LRA Commissioner General have initially told the President to shut down the GTMS operation on ground that MedTech can take on the services of CTN. His revelation raised several reactions from senators that the propaganda against CTN was geared to ensure that shutting down its operations for MedTech,” the NACSUL release disclosed. 

   In his closing, the Chairman of the AD-Hoc Committee, Senator, Amara Konneh of Gbarpolu County, itemized that it is now established that GTMS’ contract is legal based on the approbation from all the relevant entities. He said, “But what needs to be answered is the exclusion of the PPCC from the process, which raises more concerns.”

   Senator Konneh, according to NACSUL, revealed that the second public hearing, which will be held on next week Monday, June 17, 2024, will also include the management of the LRA, the MoCI, Ministry of Justice, Notre Dame, MedTech Scientific Liberia, Ltd., MedTech Scientific Inspection Services, NIC, MFDP and PPCC to address several critical issues.

   Meanwhile, NACSUL says it supports the operation of GTMS in the country, as it is internationally accepted. However, the group cautioned the company to reduce its charges at the port in order to lessen the burden on businessmen importing goods into the country.

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