Members of the Ashanti Regional Shipper Committee (ARSC) have been sensitised on the Benchmark Value Reversal Policy at the 172nd Shipper Committee meeting held at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority’s premises in Kumasi on Wednesday, 1st June 2022.
Some of the issues discussed were the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, Tariff Bands, and the Guidelines for the Implementation of the Reduction of Values of Imports, ‘Benchmark Values’ or Government’s Discount Policy, among others.
A Principal Revenue Officer of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA Mr. Jonathan Debrah explained that Government’s hope was that easing the import regime would make Ghana’s ports competitive by increasing the volume of imports and revenue.
He explained the change in the Discount Policy rates from 50% to 30% on general goods and from 30% to 10% on used motor vehicles, and indicated that government has expanded the coverage of discounts on import values, often referred to as ‘Benchmark Values’, on all items, following consultations with relevant stakeholders.
During deliberations, members of the ARSC expressed worry over the rising cost of doing business in the country, including high import duty and called on government to implement policies that would remedy the situation and stabilise the exchange rate of the Cedi as against other major trading currencies.
The Benchmark Value Discount Policy was introduced in April 2019 by government in an attempt to make the Ghanaian ports competitive, reduce smuggling and increase government’s revenue from the port.
Following consultation between government and relevant stakeholders, government announced a revision of the policy resulting in a reduction in the discount offered on the delivery values of imports.
The change came into effect on 1st March 2022. It is expected that all pre-manifest declarations processed and paid before the effective date will not be affected by the new policy even when the goods are yet to arrive in the country. Also, any Bill of Entry (BOE) processed and validated before the effective date, for which the tax bill is yet to be settled, will not be affected.