The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has revealed all importers attempt to outwit the system at the country’s ports in order to pay less charges.
The revelation comes on the back of complaints from importers about rising duties at the ports.
Speaking at a workshop for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at Prampram, Chief Revenue Officer for GRA Emmanuel Ohene disclosed Ghana is currently implementing the ECOWAS protocol on common external tariff which ensures uniform tariffs across member countries.
Mr. Ohene explained the adoption of the ECOWAS protocol resulted in some adjustments in tariffs locally.
“When the ECOWAS protocol on common external tariff had to come into force Ghana of a necessity had to implement it and in that regard some of the tax rates were affected- some high, some low.
“If you brought a commodity and you are able to satisfy us, that is, transaction price you actually paid for it, there is no reason why customs will refuse accepting that value,” he stressed.
Mr. Ohene disclosed attempts by importers including big multinational firms to beat down duties through different schemes.
“Over the years and from experience we have gathered as customs officers, I can tell you that there is no big fish or small fish when it has to do with values. Everybody tries to cut corners including the multinationals.”
The Chief Revenue Officer nonetheless assured the robust system deployed by GRA at the country’s ports ensures revenue is not lost to the state.
“Once customs we don’t find your values to conform to what is expected of you, you will certainly have the values adjusted. It is important to note that we don’t just hazard values from the blue or make intelligent guesses before we arrive at the values. We have transaction price databases, we have other means of verifying the authenticity of any value one presents to customs.”
He, however, called on importers with genuine concerns with valuation of their goods to lodge complaints for redress.
According to him, once it is established values of the goods do not correspond to the charges there will be a downward review. He said importers who have taken advantage of the complaints channel have had their concerns addressed.