A Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Nii Noi Ashong, has revealed that collection of import duties rose to 52 per cent last year.
“Import duties collection increased close to 52 per cent, and this year it stands to increase by around 40 per cent. In 2019 it decreased by 12 per cent,” he said during the fourth edition of Media General’s Economic Dialogue Series on Thursday April 1.
He added “These are some of the things we need to deepen to make sure that we get people to pay their duties. Again in the year where the exchange rate depreciated minimally we got more cedis collection in the year where GDP depreciated.
For his part, the Director General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) Mr Michael Luguje noted while speaking at the same event the paperless port systems introduced by the Akufo-Addo administration has achieved significant success.
He said the system reduced delays in cargo clearance thereby saving revenues.
“There is collaboration between Port Authorities and Customs to ensure that the port authority does not allow cargo to leave the ports if there is no proof that custom has received requisite duties and given clearance to that cargo.
“Before the paperless programme, the process even towards the cargo valuation, duties established for it to be done involved, several manual interventions and paper work.
“That created a number of loopholes and leakages that revenues were leaking. But the paperless programme that came as far back as back as 2017 and 2018 actually significantly closed a number of the loopholes.”
Mr Luguje added “But there a few other areas because the paperless came in to try to integrate the systems between the port authorities, the custom and all other state agencies that play a role in cargo clearances. It also sought to reduce delays, delays suddenly cost money and when it cost money it frustrates trade, frustrating trade means volumes will reduce as a result of cargo will be diverted to other routes.
“So the paperless projects sought to compel the port authorities, the customs, and all other state organizations to integrate their systems to ensure that we do more online clearance of cargo and payments. That went on, we have achieved significant milestone.”
The paperless port system was implemented at Ghana’s main ports in September 2017 by the Ghana Revenue Authroity (GRA) together with GCNET and West Blue Consulting, following a pilot.
Import process flow is now done via an online system, which captures all relevant import information on a database.
Traders can obtain required import licenses, permits and certificates before arrival of goods as well as pay fees and charges, among other things.
It also involves a risk clearance system that determines selectivity of transactions, granting automatic customs release without scanning or physical examination.