Business News of Wed, 5 Aug 20151
Import and export duty collection; CEPS responsibility
The primary responsibility of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is to collect import and export duties for the State.
This implies that the Division only implements the country’s tax laws just as its counterparts within the GRA, Assistant Commissioner of CEPS, Mr. Ben Zuuri, Brong-Ahafo Regional Commander, has stated.
Mr Zuuri made the clarification in response to a question during a forum at a day’s tax education programme for 95 participants in Sunyani.
The programme was organised by the Customs Division in the Brong-Ahafo, to educate importers, exporters and other stakeholders on issues like “Registration/Re-Registration, Import and Export procedures, Vehicle importation, Sanctions under the Custom Act and Warehousing among others.
Mr. Zuuri who was responding to an appeal by a participant that Customs should consider granting tax exemptions for importation of education materials by individuals or groups, clarified that the entity had no mandate to either review or amend any part of tax laws relating to import and export duties, saying that could only be done by the Legislature.
Mr. Zuuri advised the general public, particularly importers and exporters to follow laid-down procedures on imports and exports, to avoid falling foul to the country’s tax laws, and their concomitant sanctions and penalties.
Mr. Alex Amuyao, Principal Revenue Officer at the Sampa border post, in a presentation on “Warehousing,” defined the system as a procedure under which imported goods are stored under Customs control in the State or private bonded warehouse.
Mr. Amuyao dilated on a number of facilities to be derived from private warehousing and urged general public to take advantage of it.
Mr. Justice Nii Armah Laryea, the Chief Revenue Officer in Sunyani, educating participants on “Sanctions under the Customs Act,” enumerated offences like “Procuring another to assist evasion of tax”, “Interference with seizure” (or struggling with an Officer to seize goods).
Mr. Laryea said they were serious tax offences t tantamount to depriving the country of tax revenue, and therefore attracted severe punishment by the State.
Mr. Felix Chaahaah, the Chief Director of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council, who presided, noted that even though Customs had been meeting its annual revenue targets, the division required the support of all segments of society, to perform beyond expectation.
Participants were drawn from Kofibadukrom, Gonokrom, Sunyani, Nkrankwanta, Sampa, Atuna, all border areas in the region.