The President of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Mr. Samson Awingobit has warned that the purpose of the Common External Tariff (CET) could be defeated due to the uneven tax regime across the sub-region.
According to him, the development could led to smuggling of goods into the country from neighboring countries whose tax charges are lesser compared to Ghana.
“The reason for the CET was to create a fair playing ground for everybody, if Nigeria had implement 35, Togo 35, Ivory Coast 35 and Ghana 35 we don’t have a problem”, he told Citi Breakfast Show host Bernard Avle.
Mr. Awingobit, explained that even though Ivory Coast has witnessed some economic stability, the country has pegged its tax charges at 20 percent, a situation that would make Ghana unattractive to import goods through the country.
He mentioned that the 23 percent tax charges and duties on some selected consumption goods such as poultry and household items, coupled with the 35 percent tariffs imposed by the CET would push investors to other West African countries with low tariffs.
However, the Principal Revenue Officer with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Dr. Oko Ampah stated that there is no need for panic since the CET has come to replace the country’s current import tariff.
“What the CET is doing now is just replacing our tariff, so it’s just about the import duty, nothing has changed. Just the duty rate that has changed, some have come down, some have gone up”, he stressed.
He added that the CET does not impose any new tax but alters the arrangement of the import duty tax structure.
He rejected claims that importers who deal in some commodities in the sub-region would be thrown out of business, adding that such selected goods from the sub-region would not attract any tariff imposition when they move within the region.
Ghana announced the implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) CET, following the passage of the Customs Amendment Act, 2015 (Act 905).
The Common External Tariff is aimed at creating a single tariff regime for ECOWAS member states on some selected imported items, irrespective of the ECOWAS member country it lands.
By: Norvan Acquah-Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana