Tax policies captured in the 2017 budget, but for some external factors could not be implemented, are to be implemented early next year, the Ghana Revenue Authority Customs Division has hinted.
The finance minister in the 2017 budget and economic policy announced a number of tax cuts and abolitions which were subsequently approved by parliament.
However, the GRA’s assurance of implementing those tax policies soonest follows communication to the Economic Community of West Africa States through the newly- amended Common External Tariffs.
About ten different taxes were abolished while others were reduced during the 2017 budget reading early this year.
Assistant Commissioner for the Sunyani Divison, Alhaji Yakubu Seidu explained that, the changes were delayed because ECOWAS needed to be informed under the Common External Tariff arrangement.
The Common External Tariff is the single tariff regime agreed to by all member states of ECOWAS.
This means that the same tariffs are to be charged on an eligible item imported into the ECOWAS sub-region, irrespective of which ECOWAS-member country it lands in.
“We are within a community, Ghana cannot do anything in isolation, ECOWAS must be notified properly before we can implement it. Duty rates were there within the ECOWAS and now we must vary from it so we must notify ECOWAS.
“So we engaged them and we came to a compromised tariff regime we have now, we have incorporated all the changes that were in the budget statement including those with zero rates on all these spare parts,” he said.
Officials explain the newly adjusted Common External Tariffs were expected to be implemented by 2017 but were delayed because the changes have to go through Parliament for approval.
“We assure you that it will be implemented fully by 1 January 2018,” Alhaji Yakubu Seidu said.
He spoke at a public engagement in Kumasi with importers and other stakeholders on the recent amendments to the ECOWAS Common External Tariffs.
It was to educate them on the harmonizing system of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff and other schedules to enable flexibility to the change.
Alhaji Seidu says 233 changes have been made in the amendments to facilitate trade and commerce among member countries.
Story: Adnan Adams Mohammed