The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has assembled members of the press in a forum, as an effort to educate the public on current enhancements in the trade and port clearance system.
Customs, since 2002 has partnered IT Solutions companies, to create a secure trade platform that facilitates the exchange of information between the Government of Ghana and the trade & logistics community.
Customs are currently embarking on a smart ports initiative where all port clearance processes are automated and made simpler and faster.
Currently, collaborations between the Customs Division and West blue Consulting has introduced, the Ghana Trade Hub Mobile App which allows importers to check the estimated duty payable on goods, and vehicles as well as track their consignments.
Hector Obideabah, Revenue Assistant, Customs, GRA, illustrated the process to acquire information regarding estimated duties payable on goods, and vehicles.
He said to check duties for general goods, you need to enter your HS Code, which is a classification number for a particular commodity. Also, your insurance, currency to pay in, and your freight value.
“For instance, if you want to check for general good you enter the HS code, your insurance, your currency and your freight value charges. Once you put in all the information demanded, you hit the calculate button, the system gives you the breakdown of your estimated duties.” the Customs Officer demonstrated. For used vehicles, you can check your estimated duties payable, by using make, model and year version of vehicle or check by using the chassis number of vehicle.
He emphasized that, these estimated duties are between 80-90% close to the actual duty payable, and is intended to serve as a guide for importers to budget in order to avoid unexpected charges that may lead to the payments of rents and demurrages.
“The system will get you vehicle for you and I repeat that it is not the actual duty but the estimated duty because other charges may be added to it.”
Kwasi Bobie Ansah, an Assistant Commissioner, in charge of Communications and Public Relations, GRA, advised all importers and the general public to acquire Tax Identification Numbers, which are required to track consignments on the mobile app, because without it, it has become close to impossible to deal with government agencies.
“Without the TIN, you cannot do a lot of things especially when transacting business with the government agencies and we will continuous with the education,” he said.
Alfred Apio, Chief Revenue Officer of Customs, GRA said this initiative by the Ghana Revenue Authority, is of the intention to bring transparency of all customs activities to the importer in order to facilitate his or her business.
“On top of what you are doing. Because now, you know you can track your consignment to know which stage of clearance it has reached so you can organise your resources and also so that no one can cheat you.”