Warehouse operators have been warned to desist from removing goods from bonded warehouses without the supervision of customs officials since the practice is unlawful.
The Sector Commander of the Accra Collection Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Customs Division, Ms Christiana Akoto-Bamfo, said the unauthorised removal of goods from a customs bonded warehouse was unacceptable and warned that warehouse operators who engaged in that act would be punished.
The warehousing regime is the situation where imported goods are stored under customs control in a government or private bonded warehouse, without the payment of import duty and other taxes on the goods at the entry point.
Traders have three months to store perishable goods, 12 months for general goods and two years for raw materials.
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Speaking at a tax education seminar in Accra on the theme, “Revenue mobilisation and trade facilitation; the role of GRA, Customs Division and stakeholders”, Ms Akoto-Bamfo said anyone who assisted in the clearance of goods from a bonded warehouse without the supervision of an officially assigned customs official was an offender under the law.
“Where goods required to be previously entered are taken out of a private bonded warehouse without due entry permitted under ACT 891, the warehouse keeper or the person who deposited the goods shall immediately pay the duty on the goods and in addition, pay a penalty of not more than 300 per cent of the duty payable,” she said.
Benefits of warehousing
For effective mobilisation of revenue, trade facilitations and a convenient environment for operating customs bonded warehousing regimes, Ms Akoto Bamfo called for the development of a comprehensive warehouse manual to be used by both officers and operators in the sector.
She said the country also needed reforms and modernisation in the implementation of the customs bonded warehousing regime.
Companies, she said, stood to benefit enormously from the warehouse regime such as direct cost savings and holding of large stock of goods.
On the disadvantages of warehousing, she said the deferment of revenue payments represented a great loss of revenue to the state.
In a welcome address, the Deputy Commissioner, Preventive, of the Customs Division of the GRA, Mr Frank Jones Abban, explained that the seminar was intended to create a platform for the exchange of information “for enhanced understanding of our processes and procedures that enable better and quicker dealings with the Customs Division.”
The Assistant Commissioner of the GRA Customs Division, Legal, Mr Godwin Attoh, called for increased public education on Customs Laws to ensure compliance by taxpayers.
The seminar educated taxpayers on tax compliance and trade facilitation systems in their business operations to ensure quality service delivery.
Participants in the one-day seminar included importers and exporters, warehouse operators, representatives of haulage companies and business operators under the jurisdiction of the Accra Sector collection unit.