‘Review Import Charges’ – Daily Guide Africa
Anthony Dzadzra (3rd from left), U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson and some officials at the event.
Government must review trade-related fees and charges at the country’s ports, according to a recent report facilitated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The report, developed for Ghana’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) by Nathan Associates Incorporated, a US-based consultant, called for the reduction of fees and charges to avert the unofficial fees levied on importers at the ports.
About 40 percent of fees charged at the ports go to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Nearly all fees and charges are established based on cost in freight (CIF) values and do not reflect the real cost of providing services.
Fees established using ad valorem are increasing the cost of operation in Ghana.
The report revealed that all importers paid fees that amounted to 6.25 percent of the value of their goods at Tema.
Of these, unofficial payment that occur during the import process at Tema, which involved physical inspection (29 percent); release (24 percent); gate exit (22 percent); document review (15 percent) and others (10 percent).
Unofficial payments also occur during the export process at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) especially at the physical inspection stage (67 percent), document review stage (20 percent) and consignment forms (13 percent).
Unofficial payments also take place when goods transit at Tema, Paga and Aflao posts.
At the document review stage about 27 percent is lost, another 27 percent is lost at the exit stage, waybill/manifest endorsement (23 percent) and other stages where 23 percent is lost.
The average payment of unofficial fees per consignment on imports for example stands at GHS250; GHS200 for exports and GHS125 for goods on transit.
Director of the Revenue Policy Division of Ministry of Finance, Anthony Dzadzra, said government was putting in place measures to reduce all trade-related fees and charges on all imported goods at the ports.
He said this would be done in consultation with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), among others, which granted permits at various stages for the importation of products.
U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson, said Ghana undertook this study as part of its effort to comply with benchmark guidelines outlined in the world trade organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
The trade facilitation agreement, which went into effect on February 22, contains provision for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods.
According to Ambassador Jackson, the agreement could reduce the trade costs by 17.5 percent, with the greatest benefit accruing to Africa and others developing countries
He said the US would work with Ghana to create a business enabling environment to create jobs for citizens in the two countries.
By Edward Emmanuel Lamptey