The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has debunked claims that it is illegal for government to reduce benchmark value of import duties.
According to the minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, any country that implements such a policy as the basis for custom goods, risks being sanctioned by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
He made this known at an economic forum organised by the opposition National Democratic Congress.
His comment comes on the back of the announcement by Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia of a government decision to reduce benchmark value of import duties at the country’s ports effective 4th April 2019.
Speaking at a Town Hall Meeting by the government’s Economic Management Team in Accra, Dr. Bawumia said that benchmark value of import duties had been slashed by 50 per cent while importers of vehicles will enjoy a 30 per cent reduction.
“This means, for example, if a container was previously assessed for duty at a value of $20,000, it will now be assessed from tomorrow at a value of $10,000. We expect that the higher volumes of at least 50% annually and increase customs revenue,” the Vice President, who is Head of the EMT, explained.
The Head of Customs at the Ghana Revenue Authority Isaac Crenstil said, Mr. Ato Forson’s claim is false.
According to him, all over the world custom officers use benchmark values to calculate import duties and so the claim by Mr. Forson “is not true in any way.”
He told Starr FM, Customs use risk-based management methods globally and benchmark values is critical component.
He added that Customs has configured its systems to respond to the new import duty directive from government.
“It is going on smoothly, we are yet to record any complain,” Mr Crenstil said.
Source: Yaw Osei, Daily Mail GH