Ghana Chamber of Commerce calls for coherent business policies
The chamber also wants government to take holistic a view of policies to ensure expert impact on businesses and embark on broader consultation with private sector before implementing policies.
Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, GNCC Chief Executive Officer made this known at a stakeholder consultation workshop, organised by the Chamber to highlight on its research findings on the implementation of the Duty Drawback Scheme in Ghana.
He said the scheme, though intended to impact positively on the private businesses since its implementation in 1993, there are still some bottlenecks that need to be streamlined to facilitate business.
That, he said, had necessitated the research with funding from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, to research into the challenges and find ways to address them.
Mr Badu-Aboagye said 33 business entities were interviewed and out of that, 48 per cent said they received the refund after going through strenuous and bureaucratic processes; 18 per cent went through the process successfully, while 34 per cent of respondents did not go through it at all.
He said the research also revealed that over the two year period, the government owes individual businesses more than GH¢400,000 with the maximum being GH¢1.7 million and minimum, GH¢500.00.
He attributed it to undue delay through cumbersome administrative and bureaucratic bottlenecks on the part of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Finance and called on the authorities to automate the Duty Drawback Desk to facilitate work.
“We will not put all the blame on the GRA and the Ministry because some of the businesses we spoke to are not even aware of scheme and we in the Chamber we take it from that level to sensitise both members and non-members on the scheme and how to assess it,” he added.
Ms Sheila Vigbedor, in-Charge of the Duty Drawback Desk, GRA said, the laws stipulate a refund of all or part of duties used on imported goods brought into the country, which are processed for export.
She said goods, which are imported and placed in an area that is a free zone or duty free shop; goods that are designated for repair or construction of an aircraft, are all qualified to apply for duty drawback.
She said according to the law, refund should be done within 12 months after applying and it is paid on only the quantity and weight of commodities exported.
Ms Vigebdor said at times a refund delays because some businesses fail to put in accurate information or attach the correct particulars to their applications.
Mr John Defor, a representative from the Association of Ghana Industries, commended BUSAC Fund for its continuous support for the private sector to overcome their difficulties.
He said though the scheme was intended to assist businesses, yet there are few challenges with its implementation, and commended GNCC for its efforts to address them.
Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso, I, President of GNCC, who chaired the session, urged GRA to expedite action on some of the processes deemed outmoded to facilitate refunding.
“We, at the Chamber, will continue to organise programmes for the business community to support the tax regime and the importance to honour their tax obligations to avoid penalty,” he added.