Business News of 2014-08-14

Review exemption policy at the ports – DICs urge gov’t

Destination inspection companies (DICs) have called on the government to review its exemption policy at the ports, since the prevailing system creates room for abuse and loss of revenue to the state.

They proposed that institutions seeking exemptions be made to pay the duties and thereafter put in claims for refund from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

“There is a high increase in the levels of permit clearances granted and based on dubious invoices, poor or insufficient description of goods on landing accounts. Permits are generally not issued on the basis of importer profiles and are not always perfected,” they noted.

In an interaction with the Daily Graphic in Accra, the representatives of the companies noted that depending on the individual applying for an exemption and the officer granting the request, the system could be and was often abused.

The representatives were Mr Nabali Bawa, Managing Director of Gateway Services Limited; Nana Asamoah Boadu, Managing Director of Ghana Link; Mr David Christian, General Manager of ICS; Mr Derek Clay, Managing Director of Webb Fontaine; Mr Barbosa Fernando, Managing Director of Bivac Limited, and Mr Fred Macbruce, Spokesman of the Joint Consultative Committee of the Destination Inspection Scheme Companies (JCCDIC), the umbrella body of the DICs.

Exemption Management

They explained that the current exemption regimes invariably resulted in the collection of duties and taxes at levels lower than the Final Classification and Valuation Report (FCVR) assessments, and, therefore, proposed a review of the import consignments cleared under exemption regimes to establish exemption legitimacy.

They noted that the issue of reconciliation was still significantly backlogged, an issue that contributed significantly to revenue loss and revenue recovery failure within acceptable time limits.

They explained that revenue shortfalls could be occasioned by quality and quantity discrepancies and also stated that feedback systems from the Customs Division to DICs were totally non-functional.

Warehousing

The DICs also asked the government to review its warehousing/ex-warehousing management regime, since it created avenues for abuse and was a major source of revenue loss to the state.

The firms said they were wondering how companies failed to pay their taxes and duties under the warehousing system after they had promised to do so after ex-warehousing the goods but they never did so and yet kept stocking the same warehouses.

Sadly, they said those importers often ex-warehoused the goods with improper or no documentation and, thereby created loopholes for revenue loss to the state.

To address some of those loopholes, the representatives said the DICs had consistently requested access to Customs manifest since 2003, but that had not been granted.

They explained that the manifest provided an accurate indication of the shipment history of the import consignment, gave an accurate indication of the weights of the import consignment, provided a control point for e-FCVR validation against the Customs Bill of Entry, and provided an identification link to fake trade transport documents.

They said the DICs had, in the meantime, gone the extra mile and developed alternative means of import consignment tracking, where possible, to minimise migration and put in place a direct inter-DIC document referral system in place for migrated consignments.

The representatives noted that the issues outlined were numerous and had been consistently addressed to the pertinent authorities by the DICs, and those were verifiable.

Source: graphic.com
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