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Importers to put pressure on Ghana gov’t due to new trade trends – Expert

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Mr Isaac Osei Bonsu, Human Resource Manager of Inspection and Control Services (ICS) has observed that due to the current trend of trade in Ghana, government would face mounting pressures from importers without appropriate valuation mechanism.

“Against this background continuous education and refresher courses is undoubtedly one of the most effective strategies to achieve organisation excellence and to increase revenue generation for the country,” he said.

Mr Osei Bonsu was closing a month-long  back to front workshop in Accra at the weekend organised by ICS in Accra on “Customs Valuation: Understanding The Agreement on Customs Valuation (ACV)” .

The ACS rules were enacted by World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the Article VII of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade in 1994.

The workshop was attended by 52 officials from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Economics and Organised Crime Office and Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), who were grouped in two batches for two weeks session each.

The workshop, which was the third in a series took the participants through the history and general principles of WTO, customs valuation, transportation, transactions value method, sequential methods of valuation, themes, concepts and elements of WTO agreement on customs valuation as well as the instruments and decisions on the agreement.

Mr Osei Bonsu said ACV rules is a core tool and principle in valuation, which goes a long way to create fairness and neutrality for importers and revenue generation agencies.

He said the process of valuation is important since it determines the transaction value on the basis for which payment of duties is determined.

“The dynamic nature of valuation means that adequate knowledge about the valuation rules is a must. It is therefore always essential to ensure that the right valuation processes are followed to rule out fictitious assignment of values,” he added.

Mr Kwame Fosu, Legal Director at MOTI said customs valuation and classification is a critical component in Ghana’s quest to boost trade and ensure minimum loss of revenue, which is essential for the national development agenda.

He noted that one of the risks faced by many countries including Ghana in the aftermath of the global financial crisis relates to effective and efficient revenue collection.

Therefore one of the main objectives of MOTI is to ensure traders’ compliance with fiscal requirements and revenue liability.

“For us as a lower middle income country, which depends heavily on the revenue accrue from imports, the recommendation is that we should consciously promote integrity and the prevention of corruption,” he said.

Mr Wallace Akondor, Assistant Commissioner in charge of training, of the Customs Division of GRA said valuation play a key role in customs operations, adding that it is critical that the personnel make the correct interpretation of what constitutes valuation.

He asked custom officers not to extort money from the public and strive to be neutral and fair when carrying out valuation.

Dr Kofi Mbeah, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Shippers Authority, who chaired the function, said there is the need for the country to create trade balance before trade facilitation and management.

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 assists governments in enhancing their trade revenues while maintaining controls and facilitating trade.

The group provides tailor made solutions through the deployment of its flagship product, MicroClear, which is a proprietary and internally developed and enhanced world-class supply chain, customs, e-commerce and decision support solution.

ICS was established in 1996 to provide governments with effective services designed to enhance their customs and tax revenues.

The company has over the years developed into a world-wide organisation with expertise in specialised technology and a creative and practical system for providing valuation assistance to customs organisations in accordance with World Trade Organisation and World Customs Organisation guidelines.

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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