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Ghana traders optimistic about CEPS move

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The Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) has expressed optimism that the one-stop-shop facility CEPS seeks to offer through its classification and valuation services will open a new chapter for importers and maximise revenue for the state.

The President of GUTA, Mr. G. K. Ofori, who made the point, said the proposed resumption by CEPS of its key duties of classification and valuation would result in little delay in the clearing of goods.

“The frustrations and inconveniences traders endure in running around the Ministries of Trade and Finance, sometimes filing petition upon petition, will all end with the introduction of the one-stop-shop facility which is expected to be introduced by the government next year,” Mr. Ofori said.

More than half of the government’s revenue comes from the collection of duties and taxes by CEPS on goods imported into the country. It has long been known that there is leakage in the amount of revenue collected by CEPS and the government has continued to work to reduce this leakage.

The assessment of duties, taxes and fees on imported goods due the government is based on the classification and valuation of the goods. One source of leakage is associated with the wrong classification and valuation of goods, which results in loss of revenue to the government.

It has been known that some importers can be given preferential treatment in the assessment of their duties, taxes and fees again resulting in loss of revenue to the government and an unfair advantage to some importers over others bringing in the same items.

Mr. Ofori, however, expressed the hope that the resumption of the core functions of classification and valuation would enable CEPS to minimise, if not eliminate, the incidence of corruption associated with the clearing of goods.

“We have encouraged CEPS in its drive to regain its core functions. We have made suggestions for inputs into the new system and have reviewed with other stakeholder representatives, the user manuals for the service. We assure CEPS of our continued support and cooperation,” he said.

Following representatives from CEPS, the government has supported the service to obtain the necessary IT tools to enhance its capacity so that it can resume these core functions from January 1, 2009.

The service recently moved into a purposely designed coalition office that can house the required number of officers in, a modern office setting.

Sources at CEPS say officers have been carrying out successful classification and evaluation of goods for the last two months.

According to the Commissioner of CEPS, Mr. EmmanueI Doku, the service had made significant investments in the training of officers, both within and outside Ghana.

“I can, therefore confidently say that we are ready to meet any challenges that may crop up, even during the transitional phase of the project,” he said.

Source: Daily Graphic

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