Reversal of benchmark value deferred to Jan 17

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The implementation of Government’s policy directive on reversal of reduction of values of imports on selected items which was set to take effect from Thursday, 6th January, 2022 has been deferred to Monday, 17th January, 2022

Transitional arrangements to ensure a smooth implementation will allow a storage free period for vessels that discharged on 31st December, 2021 to go through clearance without being affected by the reversal policy. The following shall apply:

(1) Effective Monday, 17th January, 2022, any Bill of Entry (BOE) presented without payment of duty and other taxes or deposit of security (where it is a suspense cargo) will be affected by the policy. A bill of entry shall require reprocessing to be affected by the new policy. This will include the following:

a. Where BOE tax assessment is accepted by declarant but tax bill has not been paid
b. Where BOE tax assessment is yet to be accepted by declarant

(2) For any assessed BOE that was affected by the earlier effective dates of 4th or 6th January, 2022, a reprocessing will be required to reverse the effect of the policy on duty and taxes.

The Finance Ministry had agreed to further engagement on discounted benchmark reversal after crucial meeting with other stakeholders.

The meeting was attended by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta, trade union leaders, Customs and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to conclude on what was termed” satisfactory values for importation”, TV3’s Nancy Vukania who monitored the event reported on Thursday January 6.

The reversal affects 143 items under three categories prescribed by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

The benchmark value, which is the amount taxable on imports, was reduced by 50 percent for some goods. The government had hoped that this was going scale up he volume of transactions of make Ghana’s ports competitive.

The government decided to reverse this decision after it met opposition from Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA).

But it met opposition from trade unions including the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana (IEAG).

The Executive Secretary of the IEAG, Sampson Asaki Awingobit, served notice to sue the government over the reversal of the 50 percent benchmark on value on imports if the GRA does not stop the move.

He told 3FM’s Napo Ali Fuseini in interview on Wednesday January 5 that the reversal smacks of illegality for which he is calling on the GRA to stop.

“This benchmark value issue has to be dealt with legal way because. This benchmark value issue is illegal on its own. You cannot say you have created a data trade price somewhere that nobody knows how and manner you are getting the price data,” he said.

The IEAG said this decision would be detrimental to the business community if it is not stopped immediately.

According to the IEAG, it would also lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year.

A statement signed by their Executive Secretary Sampson Asaki Awingobit said on Tuesday January 4 that ” the position taken by government and by extension the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA on this matter would be detrimental to the business community if it is not reversed immediately.

“It would lead to many businesses losing their cargoes since importers would have to pay more outside their budgets even at this crucial time at the beginning of a new year. In the very likely event that such importers are not able to raise the additional funds to clear their goods on time, issues of uncleared cargo lists UCL would pop up and huge loses to demurrage would set in.

“Therefore, the IEAG is calling on the government and for that matter the GRA to withdraw this directive with immediate effect. The IEAG demands that such importers be given at least 14 working days to clear their already cleared cargoes from the port without the new 50% benchmark values.”

Mr Awingobit further revealed that he would sue the the government if it doesn’t alt the reversal.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana