Importers Urged To Take Advantage Of Customs Bonded Warehousing Regime

A chief Revenue Officer, General Duties at the Accra Collection of the Customs division, GRA Mark Yaw Tchorley has disclosed that customs bonded warehouses are contributing significantly to revenue generation for the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority due to the high volumes of goods that are warehoused.

Warehousing is one of the customs regimes whereby imported goods are stored in a customs bonded warehouse without the payment of duties.

“In terms of volumes, when you look at the amount of volumes that come to the warehouse and the duties that are paid, if the bonded warehouses were not available we may not be able to get such revenues. This is because the amount of money you are supposed to use to clear those goods at a go you may not have it. So we store it and you clear it bit by bit,” he stated.

Speaking on Eye on Port live studio discussion on harnessing the benefits of a reliable, secured bonded warehouses and tackling related challenges, Mark Tchorley enumerated some benefits importers can derive from warehousing which allowed them to stagger the payment of duties.

“First and foremost, warehousing saves your capital. Again, you will study the foreign market whether countries around us need such goods and do the selling to them. It promotes exports in that sense. Warehousing also creates employment for the country since all the people engaged in the sorting and other activities at the warehouse are all employed,” he said.

He added that when warehousing goods are being conveyed from the Port to the warehouse and some damages occur, the importer stands to benefit some refunds.

The National Security Liaison Officer for Tema, Sub/Lt. Christian Kofi Tetteh who was also on the programme said his outfit plays a key role in ensuring that businesses do not take undue advantage of the warehousing system to the detriment of state revenue.

“Ours is to see to it that warehousing is not abused because some will use unscrupulous means not to pay the requisite duties before clearing their goods,” he added.

He said his outfit relies on information from the Customs division of the GRA on goods that have expired at the warehouse after which a joint team comprising the National Security, Food and Drugs Authority, Port Health and the Environmental Protection Agency take out expired items to be destroyed.

“Customs raise a querying on it, feed us with the status of the goods and when they are ready we have a joint team that accompany the goods to the destruction site. We make sure that they are destroyed so that no one sends those unwholesome goods to the market,” he revealed.

The Executive Secretary of the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, Samson Asaki Awingobit, also a panellist on the programme lauded the warehousing system which he said is hugely benefiting bulk importers.

“It is a good thing in the sense that bulk importers who do not have money to pay upright duty have a safer place to keep their cargo until they have buyers who will buy. Also they can clear their goods in bit so the government gets its revenue anytime the importer clears his/her cargo,” he stated.

He said government must also be vigilant to ensure that it doesn’t lose revenue from the regime.

Mark Tchorley revealed that per customs law, perishable goods are to be warehoused for a period of 3months whiles general goods and raw materials are to be warehoused for a period of 1 year and 2years respectively.

Touching on some of the challenges within the warehousing system, he said there have been instances where importers try to get their items out of the warehouses without customs authorisation.

He, however, said customs has put in place measures to ensure that warehoused goods are secured.

Sub/Lt. Christian Kofi Tetteh also highlighted some difficulties they have with re-export of warehoused goods in addition to calling on resident officers at the various warehouses to be firm and vigilant.

“When re-exporting goods there is a need to them with tracking devices because some importers redirect the goods to the market without getting to its destination. When it happens so they do not pay any duties on the goods,” he published.

Samson Asaki decried the practice where intrinsic examinations are carried out on goods meant for warehousing at the terminal before they are sent to Customs Bonded Warehouse which delays the transfer of the goods.

“Goods that are been sent to warehouses are been offloaded and checked by Customs resident officers so doing an intrusive examination is a challenge since it delays the transfer of goods,” he bemoaned.

But the National Security Liaison Officer at the Port of Tema explained the practice.

“We have to ensure safety and security. Somebody can hide certain things in a container. These days with the advent of these terrorist activities we do not take chances. Some of the issues been raised by Asaki are legitimate but we also have to ensure that the port is safe,” he explained.

Sampson Asaki said it will be very difficult for importers to smuggle goods out of the bonded warehouses if not with the consent of the customs resident officer.

“At the Customs Bonded Houses there are three padlocks which belongs to Customs, the importer and the owner of the facility. So an importer cannot go and take goods at the warehouse without the presence of a customs officer,” he revealed.

Mark Yaw Tchorley said customs is committed to ensure that more businesses take advantage of the warehousing regime.



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