Importers clearing goods at Ghana’s ports will from today be expected to pay tariffs common to other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states.
It follows the implementation of the Common External Tariffs by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) following the passage of the Customs Amendment Act, 2015 (Act 905).
The Common External Tariff is the single tariff rate agreed to by all member states of ECOWAS.
This means that the same tariff will be charged on an eligible item imported into the ECOWAS sub-region, irrespective of which ECOWAS-member country it lands in.
The Principal Revenue Officer at the Ministry of Finance, Ben Ayensu Kwarfo tells Citi Business News the move will help revenue losses due to smuggling by some importers.
“Smuggling has negative impact on revenue because if let’s say rice for instance, Liberia has not implemented the CET so rice in Liberia now is 10 percent but it is 20 percent in Ghana so at least there is the incentive to smuggle and avoid the payment of taxes but with the implementation of the CET, the system is now open and fair because it is the same everywhere and I think it will impact positively on our revenue and also protect the local rice production,” He stated.
Meanwhile the Chief Revenue Officer at the Customs Division of the GRA, Dr. Okoh Appiah has been explaining to Citi Business News some aspects of the current clearance system not to be affected by the common external tariff.
“Here the agents or the importer, the clearance has gone for the CCVR and has put in a declaration and has paid duty before the effective date in that case he will be permitted to use the old system but there might be other instances but the IT system will have a way of catering for any such problems.
Dr. Okoh Appiah added,“If the person has out in a declaration but duty has not been paid then the person might have to go for a codes entry and then use the CET.”
The GRA has also outlined the following guidelines to ensure the smooth change over to the use of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff.
All CCVRs issued which remain unutilized as of 31st January, 2016 shall be reissued to reflect the tariff changes with effect from 1st February, 2016.
With effect from 1st February, 2016, all declarations shall be passed using the new applicable tariff rates.
Declarations passed before 1st February, 2016 but which remain uncleared, shall be processed using the old rates.
Goods warehoused before 1st February, 2016 shall be ex-warehoused using the Common External Tariff rates.
Overage penalties shall continue to be charged at existing rates by user-definition.
Processing fees shall continue to be payable on zero-rated and exempt goods.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citifmonline.com/Ghana