JUST IN: Government reduces import duties by 50 percent

Starting today, the government will be implementing an import duty reduction at the country’s ports.

According to the Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, that government has decided to reduce import duty by 50 per cent, however, importers of vehicles will enjoy a 30 per cent reduction on import duties.

The vice president made this known while giving the keynote address at the Economic Management Team (EMT) town hall meeting.

The Vice President said the reduction in import duties was to curb smuggling from Lome and Abidjan into Ghana and also facilitate international trade at the ports.

If the Cedi continues to appreciate against the dollar, then it means that vehicles and other imported products will be relatively cheaper.

New Interventions to ensuring the reduction effective

a) To reduce the incidence of smuggling and enhance revenue, the benchmark or delivery values of imports have been reduced by 50 percent except for vehicles which will be reduced by 30% effective 4th April 2019. This means for example, if a container was previously assessed for duty at a value of $20,000, it will now be assessed from tomorrow at a value of $10,000. We expect that the higher volumes of at least 50% annually and increase custom revenues

b) Also, the physical examination of containers is to be reduced from over 90% to under 10% by June 2019. Customs and any other government operatives at the ports should adhere to the recommendations of the risk engine under the paperless regime. The risk engine allows for the incorporation of specific intelligence on containers. Where containers are selected by the risk engine for examination, there will be joint examination which must include National Security.

c) There should no longer be separate examinations of containers by any government operative at the gates of exit.

d) Government will also begin the implementation of the First Port Rule in June 2019 so that duty on all transit items will be paid at our port to the Customs representatives of the country of destination. We will implement a strict “no duty no exit” policy for containers without exception. This will block leakages and increase revenue.

e) Going forward, Ghana will adopt a flat fee structure for port and customs charges for any new single window operator in line with best practices of charges at major ports globally.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, Government will also implement the following measures on port charges to enhance the efficiency of port operations.

f) Abolish service charge of $1.50 per ton of every export and reduce by 50% the $2.0 per ton of every import levied by Ghana Shippers Authority.

g) Abolish importer registration fees imposed by Ghana Standards Authority.
h) Abolish the recently introduced Eazy Pass levy of up to 0.5% of the CIF value of goods by Ghana Standards Authority.

i) Review the security charge of $0.50 per gross tonnage of every vessel coming into Ghana’s waters charged by Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA).

j) Reduce by 50 percent the $7 per new tyre eco levy charged by EPA, and replace the eco levy of 0.5% CIF value charged by EPA on a number of import items by a flat fee.

To deal with the lack of information on the status of a consignment and the duty payment, a mobile app has been developed to enable importers check the status of their consignment and the import duty payable online. The app can be obtained on google playstore and will also soon be available on iTunes. It is called Ghana Trade Hub mobile app. An importer just needs to have an Import Declaration Form number to access the information.


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