The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is taking steps to introduce reforms in streamlining the transit trade processes to avoid the diversion of goods.
This, according to the Commissioner, Customs Division-GRA, Mr Isaac Crentsil, would help government get the needed revenue for development through the payment of required duties and also provide reliable data on transit volumes for planning purposes.
(From left to right) CEO of GSA, Ms Benonita Bismarck; Dep. Min. of Transport, Hon. Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover; Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti; Head of Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Daniel Nuer and Commissioner, Customs Division-GRA, Mr Isaac Crentsil.
Mr Crentsil said the number of Customs House Agents (CHAs) or freight forwarders who engage in transit trade operations would be restricted to ensure their operations are effectively monitored.
“Insurance requirements and bonds are being reviewed. Agents who would qualify to engage in the transit trade operations would prove to the acceptance of Customs, the existence of offices along the transit routes and at the exit points of the goods. Transporters who would engage in the transportation of transit goods would have to be registered as required by Customs and recommended by their mother organisations”, he added
He announced the reforms on 16thJanuary, 2019 at a stakeholders’ seminar in Accra organised by the GRA in collaboration with the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) for importers, exporters and freight forwarders and other stakeholders under the theme “Streamlining processes for the growth of transit trade in Ghana.”
A cross-section of the participants at the seminar
The Deputy Minister of Transport, Hon. Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover said government has declared the year 2019 as an “action year” and would take steps to clamp down on unscrupulous businessmen who connive with some service providers to divert transit goods for consumption in Ghana.
Speaking on behalf of the Finance Minister, the Head of Tax Policy at the Ministry of Finance, Mr Daniel Nuer called on the GRA and other stakeholders to renew efforts to ensure the growth of transit trade while the state earns the necessary revenue accruing from it.
“All leakages of state revenue through transit diversions should be a thing of the past”, he appealed
Ms Bismarck telling the stakeholders about the contribution of the GSA to Ghana’s transit trade
On her part, the Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Ms Benonita Bismarck said a study by Authority in 2015 revealed that out of Ghana’s cargo throughput of 17 million metric tons (mt) that year, transit trade volumes alone accounted for approximately 1 million mt with an estimated US$ 24 million accruing to the Ghanaian economy from some quantifiable services provided by various operators involved in the delivery of transit services.
To boost Ghana’s transit trade, she said the GSA has embarked on a number of transit activities over the years including “the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with neighbouring landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, quarterly meetings with representatives of Shippers’ Councils of these countries, hosting of E-platform for addressing Non-Tariff barriers on the corridor, sensitisation workshops for transit drivers and Transit Shipper Committees (TSC)”.
The Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, who chaired the event said his outfit is committed to sealing all revenue leakages to generate sufficient funds to support President Nana Akufo-Addo’s “Ghana Beyond Aid” agenda.