Business News of Tue, 18 Aug 20154
GRA cautions freight forwarders, agents against tax evasion
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has warned that it will not hesitate to withdraw operating licences of freight forwarders and clearing agents who assist importers to evade taxes.
The move is aimed at enhancing tax compliance and maximising revenue collection for the government in order to accelerate national development.
Addressing a stakeholders' forum on tax education at Elubo , Mr Daniel Kweku Mensah, a Chief Revenue Collector at the Customs Division of GRA at the Elubo Collection Point, said the GRA is the major revenue collection institution for the government.
He said GRA has taken innovative measures to enhance understanding of tax payment and maximise revenue mobilisation.
The event was held on the theme 'Import and Export Requirements for Effective Tax Mobilisation,' which attracted freight forwarders, clearing agents, traders and officials from the GRA, and discussed pertinent issues which impact on the realisation of the core objectives of the authority.
Mr Mensah hoped the forum would help government to design policies and programmes which would advance the process of engagements with key stakeholders.
He said similar programmes in the past had enabled the government to innovate sound policies, saying that "currently importers and Customs House Agents could sit in the comfort of their offices and with the aid of computers, electronically transact business with customs by generating and transmitting declaration to most customs offices across the country with little or no human interactions."
Moreover, he said, clearing agents can now obtain supporting documents for their transactions from Ministries, Departments and
Agencies and forward them to customs for processing, which hitherto was done manually.
He said the recent developments adopted by the GRA had facilitated trade, reduced administrative bureaucracy and compliance cost, thereby plugging loopholes in the Ghana Customs and Management System, in order to ensure quality service to all stakeholders.
The Chief Revenue Collection Officer disclosed that two major ECOWAS-assisted projects and programmes would soon take off at Elubo and Noe collection points simultaneously.
This include the implementation of a common external tariff, where manufactured goods from ECOWAS countries would not attract the same tariff rates as goods imported outside the sub-region.
Again, plans are far advanced for a Joint Border Project at the two borders, and it's expected to take care of all the principal organisations operating at the two posts so that officials from both Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire could operate together and each country's frontier.
The participants commended the government for instituting such measures, and expressed optimism that it would enhance trade- in the sub-region.