ICS ends 3-week programme on Customs Tariff Nomenclature

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) has asked Customs and Destination Inspection Companies to be familiar with problems of classification and the basic rules for the interpretation of the harmonised system (HS) of codes.

“The harmonised system is the language of international trade. It has a structure and operates under obligations of the HS Convention in its application,” Nii Ansah-Adjaye, Chief Director of the Ministry said in Accra.

Nii Ansah-Adjaye was addressing a three-week training programme on Customs Nomenclature organised by the Inspection and Control Services Limited (ICS) for employees, partners and other stakeholders.

The programme was part of the continuous improvement training of the ICS, which attracted about 31 participants made up of personnel of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, MOTI and employees of ICS.

A similar training programme was organised for 18 people made up of ICS staff and Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders.

The Chief Director noted that the HS undergoes periodic review and revision, adding: “ Despite the comprehensive scope and tools available for its application, there is the need for constant training and revision of notes for one to be abreast of issues with Customs Tariff Nomenclature.”

He said the Destination Inspection Scheme (DIS), which was introduced about a decade ago by government as part of measures to facilitate trade, has provided a system for an efficient verification of imports and checked revenue losses by providing an impartial assessment of the duties and taxes to be collected.

Nii Ansah-Adjaye said the DIS, which was a World Trade Organisation Valuation Agreement limits the opportunities for fraud, fiscal evasion and price discrimination.

“Even though much has been achieved over the years by the introduction of the scheme, there is still some grounds to cover with regards to verification and classification duties.

“There have… been instances of tariff mis-classification resulting in under-declaration and potential loss of revenue to government.

“Delays in the issuance of Final Classification and Valuation Reports have also hampered the smooth operation of the scheme and therefore require the attention of the companies,” Nii Ansah-Adjaye, noted.

Mr Wallace Akondor, Assistant Commissioner in charge of training, of the Customs Division, who represented the service, said government has contracted four destination companies, which provide services in the valuation of imports and are expected to develop the skills and capacities of customs officers in technical areas.

He said the service is partnering destination companies in the valuation of imports.

Touching on the relevance of training, he said customs have run about 25 programmes for 250 officers in the various operational areas, including valuation, classification and post clearance activities.

Mr Akondor said a rapid response team has been created and equipped with vehicles to physically verify cases of diversion of transit goods and other smuggling activities and to offer corrective measures to safeguard revenue.

Mr Isaac Osei- Bonsu, Director of ICS, Ghana lauded the training programme, which he said would contribute to the growth of the human resource development of the country and improve upon destination inspection to improve income generation.

“The course must have driven home the important point that learning is a continuous process,” he said.

He said ICS selected Mr Aaron Sampson Ntwimah, a Tanzanian to be the course consultant in view of his track record and reputation in the field of Customs Tariff Nomenclature.

“ICS will continue to support Customs, the Destination Inspection Industry and all stakeholders by organising more of such training programmes, he said.

Mr Carlos Ahinkorah, Chief Executive Officer of Carlock Services Limited and President of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, who chaired the function, expressed the need for the review of the customs tariff nomenclature.

Prior to the introduction of destination inspection in the country in April 2000, Ghana operated a pre-shipment inspection regime.

The objective of introducing destination inspection was to achieve the objectives of trade facilitation, efficient verification of imports, revenue protection and security.

The destination inspection scheme introduced Computerised Risk Management Systems, X-Ray Scanning and the development of Transaction Price Databases.

The participants were introduced to new trends and best practice measures in the destination inspection industry, specifically in the area of customs tariff nomenclature.

ICS Ghana started operations in January 2003 and is part of the ICS Group, which comprises various firms with extensive e-government experience and international infrastructure.

The group assist governments in enhancing their trade revenues while maintaining controls and facilitating trade.

The ICS Group currently relies on the expertise and support of 550 offices located in more than 100 countries.

Source: GNA

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