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Business News of Tuesday, 18 March 2014


GRA prepares for destination inspection takeover

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is collaborating with the Netherlands Tax and Customs administration to build the capacity of Ghana customs for the takeover of destination inspection.

The two-year collaboration is part of the modernisation process of the GRA which was commenced four years ago.

Speaking at a capacity-building workshop in Accra yesterday, the Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, said the Customs division had received less attention in terms of modernisation.

That, he explained, was because "it has been difficult to source for customs expertise around the world even though every country has a customs division",

He said the collaboration would serve as a lifeline to Ghana customs, which would benefit from the experience of the Dutch customs.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the partnership between the Netherlands Customs and the Ghana Customs Division of the GRA was signed in July 2013 in the Hague.

The MoU, he said, covered the building of the capacity of customs officers in terms of valuation of goods at the ports and the restructuring of the customs laboratory.

Destination inspection takeover

A tax policy advisor at the Ministry of Finance, Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, who spoke on behalf of the minister, Mr Seth Terkper, noted that the motive for the partnership was to raise more revenue, not by increasing the tax rate but rather by expanding the base.

"When that is done, then at the current level more people can pay taxes instead of the few paying higher taxes."

He said at the end of the next two years, it was expected that the Customs Division of the GRA would take over the work of destination inspection companies.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Terkper, had in the budget statement before Parliament in 2013 directed that the Customs Division of the GRA should take over destination inspection in the country.

Transfer of skills

The head of the Dutch Tax and Customs Authority technical team, Mr Harry Griffioen, stated that the capacity building would lead to the transfer of skills in the area of tariff and revenue management.

He also pointed out that there would be the need to engage with stakeholders in the destination inspection industry to ensure a smooth takeover.