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GRA to commence fixed exchange rate regime 

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is to start the implementation of fixed exchange rate regime to protect importers from the fluctuation of the US dollar.

This will now keep the cedi to the dollar for import duties over a 90-day period beginning with a rate of GH₵ 5.08 to the dollar.

The new measure agreed with stakeholders coupled with the recent import duty cut is to help business plan and also reduce the surge in goods in the country.

Mr Emmanuel Kofi-Nti, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority who announced this at a familiarization visit to Spare Parts Dealers at Abossey Okai, Traders and traders at the Central Business District said the rate would be reviewed periodically.

The visit was also to access if traders were enjoying the recent import duty cuts announced by the government.

He urged importers especially spare parts dealers to reduce prices of goods to reflect the recent port imports charges cut by the government.

“Once the government has listened to your plea and reduced the port charges, I want you to also reduce the prices of goods to be in line with the current rates,” he said.

Following concerns by most of the traders during the interaction about lack of avenue for redress when they face challenges with their customs and national security officers at the port, Mr Nti said a complaint unit would be established at the Tema Port.

Mr Clement Boateng, the President of Spare Parts Dealers Association Commended the GRA for developing and strengthening the relations with the group and pledged to educate its members to promptly file their tax returns.

He said the Association would not shield any member who engaged in malpractices because they were aware of the importance of taxes.

“We have seen the road infrastructure development taking place in our zone and it is the tax we pay that the government is utilizing for all these projects,” he said.

Meanwhile the Authority has also declared zero tolerance on people who engaged in smuggling of goods through the neighbouring countries into Ghana.

The GRA has therefore vowed to deal vehemently with persons who smuggle goods into the country and deprive the state of the needed revenue.

Mr Emmanuel Kofi-Nti sounded the caution during familiarization visit.

He expressed worry about the situation and said when the Authority arrest a vehicle with smuggled goods, the vehicle would be impounded, goods confiscated and the driver of the vehicle be prosecuted.

“There are laws and we are going to enforce the law and we will use the arrest of some people as an example and a deterrent to others. There will be no option to pay penalty,” he said.

As part of measures, he said the GRA would increase the checkpoints at the borders from four to six to check smuggling and advised importers to use the approved routes, adding that, “When you are caught, we will not spare you.”

Mr Kofi-Nti said because of the high charges at Ghana’s ports most of importers preferred to use the Togo part, which lead to the Togo part recording a growth of 300 per cent whilst that of Ghana grew by 4.9 per cent last year.

He said it was worrying that some Ghanaian importers use the Togo port and smuggled the goods into the country.

Mr Kofi-Nti explained cut in duties at the port was not for about 70 selected items as being speculated on some social media platform, but it includes all goods that came through the Ghanaian ports.

Mr Clement Boateng, Co-chair of Abossey Okai Spare Parts Dealers Association, stated that Ghanaian traders in the area were not involved in goods smuggling, but other nationals were those involved in such activities.

“These are bad practices and detrimental to the development of the country. They have taken over the retail business,” he said.

Source: GNA

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