General News of Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Source: The Finder

Exposed: Fruit juice importers rob nation of tax

Investigations by The Finder have revealed serious under-invoicing by importers of fruits juice, robbing the nation of millions of dollars in tax revenue.

These importers, in order to pay low taxes, provide revenue authorities at the ports with invoices that significantly lower values than what they actually pay to bring in the goods; this enables them to pay less import duties.

The practice enables fruit juice importers to sell their products at much cheaper prices.

Worried local manufacturers, who are at the brink of bankruptcy, said they could not comprehend how importers, after paying 20 and 15 per cent duty and VAT respectively, could still sell their products at such “ridiculously low prices”.

The Finder established that importers allegedly declare a 0.34 per litre value for their products, a value which falls below the cost price per litre in the open market.

A market survey conducted showed that such fruit juices sold at over US$ independently.

A visit to some local manufacturing companies revealed how such activities have adversely affected the fortunes of these companies and led to massive job cuts and losses in the sector.

Ghana’s manufacturing sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has been unimpressive over the past five years.

The sector has lagged behind other sectors, recording negative figures over the period.

The average growth rate for the sector between 2007 and 2011, for instance, was 4.4 per cent compared to the 8.2 per cent overall GDP the same period, with the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 all recorded negative figures.

The share of manufacturing in GDP has declined consistently from 10.2 per cent in 2006 to 6.7 per cent in 2011.