Ghana is unlikely to commence implementation of the First Port Duty Rule at the country’s ports which is scheduled to begin 1st September, 2019, a report emanating from the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) reveals.
This is because currently Ghana is having some troubling challenges with its landlocked neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger among others in agreeing on key modalities that must be set out before beginning implementing the Rule.
The First Port Duty Rule forms part of reforms to ensure efficiency at Ghana’s ports. It is critical to government and port Authorities in the sense that it would assist in combating smuggling that arises from diversion of transit goods meant for landlocked countries as well as deepening trade facilitation and enhancing revenue mobilization. This is expected to promote the ease of doing business within the ports.
Under the First Port Duty Rule, Customs officials of the landlocked nations will be stationed at Ghana’s ports to facilitate and monitor movement of transit goods and importers will be directed to the appropriate country desk to pay the stipulated duty on the transit goods.
Reports indicate that many of such supposed transit goods are either unloaded and sold in Ghana after leaving the ports or sent through unapproved routes to their respective landlocked destinations.
Ghana’s inability to implement the policy implies that the country is potentially losing enormous revenue on such goods meant for transit, but actually sold locally. The rule, when implemented effectively will also serve as a check on dumping of goods in Ghana destined for landlocked countries.
Speaking with the Goldstreet Business, the Acting Assistant Commissioner, Customs Division of the GRA, Mr. Paul Nkrumah-Ababio said despite the challenges currently being faced with Ghana’s neighbouring countries, considerable steps are being initiated to ensure its effective implementation.
“Implementing it will help facilitate trade between Ghana and its neighbouring landlocked countries. Ghana cannot continue to receive goods going to Mali, Burkina Faso and other landlocked countries and then Ghana will be hurting.
We need to have a Memorandum of Understanding where the challenges of the agreement can be ironed out”, Mr. Nkrumah-Ababio reiterated.
This policy was first announced by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia at the 39th Council Meeting and Conference of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa in Accra in June 2018.
In March this year, the Ghana Community Network Services announced the commencement of preparation towards the implementation of the First Port Duty Rule at Ghana’s ports.