In spite of claims by the government that it has implemented business-friendly policies in the import sector, GhanaCrusader can report that the Tema port is virtually going empty. Checks conducted for the past three consecutive weeks have revealed a continuous downward trend of volume of imports.
One of the biggest terminals at the Tema Port, the Golden Jubilee Terminal shockingly had only four containers that were processed last week Friday.
“This place, we used to process 1500 containers per day. Now, it is not so. People are not bringing in imports,” a senior customs officer at the Golden Jubilee terminal told Ghana Crusader in an interview under condition of anonymity.
He alluded to the fact that the high import taxes regime that Ghana is implementing is “a total put-off to many importers.”
“They prefer to use Togo or Ivory Coast ports. Those places their duties are relatively lower,” he disclosed.
Even the recent announcement in the reduction of import benchmark values by the government has not assuaged the fears of importers using neighbouring countries.
The recent dip in the volumes of imports into the country is expected to affect government revenue target of GH₵45billion for the year.
For the period January to September 2018, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) collected revenue amounting to an estimated 26 billion cedis as against a target of 28 billion cedis, resulting in a negative deviation of 2.22 billion cedis (-7.9%)
Ghana currently uses the Harmonized System (HS) Customs Code to classify goods and appropriate taxes based on weight, value or volume.
Goods arriving in the country are subject to import duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), special tax and import excise duty. Duties on some category of imports are then calculated taking into consideration charges of Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) and Freight On Board (FOB).
And the high rates of these charges at the ports have been the nemesis of most importers.