The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has held a stakeholders forum in Accra to educate the public on the Custom’s Act and clearance procedures.
The forum, themed Ghana’s export and business environment; opportunities and responsibilities, created a platform for Custom’s officials and members of the general public to and others in the businesses community, to deliberate on the new law to enhance understanding.
The Customs officials made presentations, in turns, on– Customs acts (2015) 891, clearance procedure/ valuation of used motor vehicles, State Warehousing, Courier regime and the national single window project
Godwin Attoh, member of the Board Secretariat Services of GRA, in explaining the nuances of the Customs Act to the stakeholders, said the object of the new Act was to revise and consolidate the law relating to the imposition of custom duties on imports and exports as well as provide related matters to meet the demands of compliance, while it facilitates international trade and optimizing revenue collection.
John Nana Acquah, Officer In Charge of State Warehouse at the Kotaka International Airport (KIA), explained to the participants that the state warehouse is a place approved by the Commissioner-General of GRA for the deposit of all goods which have flouted or have not complied with Customs laws, process or regulation.
“We do so because we are awaiting the payment of the requisite duties and taxes, and/or also for the security of the goods,” he said.
He noted that after goods are sent to the warehouse, owners can pay duties and taxes and clear them, while goods could either be gazetted and sold in public auction, destroyed or disposed off by the Commissioner-General.
On vehicle importation, Senior Revenue Officer Lemmy Kwawu, explained that to determine the duty of an imported car the age of vehicle, cylinder capacity of engine, utility of vehicle, Home Delivery Value (HDV) and freight are considered thoroughly before they are passed.
Implementation of Single Window project
The General Manager of WestBlue Consulting, Mr. Uthman Aminu, in his presentation on the Ghana National Single window project explained that the Ghana National Single Window system provides the platform for an integrated clearance process to minimize the human factor as much as possible and, to a large extent help to reduce the processing time for trade documents.
“To facilitate this WestBlue developed the Pre-arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) which is already having a dramatic impact on the time required to do business and the other elements of the programme such as Integrated Risks Assessment, IDF, and e-letter of credit,” he said.
He revealed that the successful implementation of the PAARS has increased revenue generation at the Tema and Takoradi ports.
GRA revenue in 2015
Revenue mobilised by Customs Division of GRA in 2015 increased by 1.66 per cent as a result of the implementation of the PAARS. The revenue target for 2015 was GH¢8036.23 million however GH¢8169.55 million was realized.
Mr. Aminu observed that after some months of the implementation of the trade facilitation system, it has reduced the cost of doing business at the Tema and Takoradi ports.
“GNSW reduces cost and time at the ports since the introduction of the GNSW’s PAARS last year, traders are able to access Customs Classification and Valuation Report (CCVR) within 48 hours”, he revealed.
“ WestBlue estimated that the GNSW project would reduce the cost and time of international trade (import, export and transit) in Ghana by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively over the next five years,” he said.
Mr. Aminu explained that the GNSW would have a huge impact on the international competitiveness of Ghanaian business and this could result in a strong growth in the country’s international trade performance.