The Ghana Revenue Authority(GRA) has confirmed to Citi Business News that it will commence the payment of all outstanding duty drawbacks due exporters and manufactures next week.
According to the GRA, the government through the Ministry of Finance has released funds to be paid to all eligible exporters under the duty drawback scheme.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s consultation workshop on duty drawback organized by the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI), with support from the BUSAC fund, a Revenue Officer at Customs Division of the GRA, Ebenezer T. M. Ayettey said the authority is set to commence payment of all outstanding duty drawbacks due exporters on Tuesday July 5, 2016.
“So for that period till now we don’t have any problem with any refunds outstanding as we have cleared everything in terms of payment of drawbacks,” he said.
He stated that the authority has commenced work on outstanding documents to make sure all stakeholders are served.
“What I call the outstanding now is what we just received from audit, and this morning I dispatched them for cheques to be issued and so hopefully by Tuesday we will begin releasing them on what we have received and cleared for payments,” he stressed.
According to him, the authority encountered some challenges between 2010 and 2013, contributing to the delay.
“We had challenges between 2010 and 2013 because we had an account in which at the end of every month 0.65% of our total revenue is paid into. The challenge was that whenever the import goes down it affect the total amount that was put into the account,” he said.
Exporters threaten to sue GRA & Finance Ministry
The announcement to commence payments comes after some exporters and manufactures through the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) threatened to hurl the GRA and the Ministry of finance to court over what they claim are deliberate delays in the payment of their tax refunds under the duty drawback scheme.
Some of them who spoke to Citi Business News stated that the process which should have lasted six months extended beyond a year.
Drawback is the refund of import duties and taxes paid on imported materials that are used as inputs in the manufacture of goods, which are then exported.
Ghana has a duty drawback regime in place since 1993 after it liberalized its import and export trade.
Govt debt to the chamber
A research conducted by the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that on average, government owes about 456, 289 Ghana cedis per individual company.
The highest amount owed to businesses is about 1,700,000 million Ghana cedis and the minimum amount is about 500 Ghana cedis.
The research also showed that on average payments could take about 10 months depending on follow ups in extreme cases; payment of refund could be made after 2 years while the shortest possible period is 5 months.
Despite the finding, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is impressing on its members who have been affected by the undue delays in the payment of their duty draw back claims to exercise restraint as the Chamber pushes for their concerns to be addressed.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana