Importers attend workshop on post clearance Audit

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey

Importers have been advised to co-operate with the Post-Clearance Audit Unit of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to ensure the fast clearance of their goods at the ports.

According to the Deputy Commissioner of the unit, Mr Isaac Crentsil, the implementation of post-clearance audit was part of the risk management strategy.

Mr Crentsil was speaking during a workshop for importers in Accra.

Post-clearance audit

Post-clearance audit is an audit-based customs control performed subsequent to the release of cargo from customs’ custody.

The purpose of such audits is to verify the authenticity of declarations and covers the control of traders’ commercial data, business systems, records and books.

Such an audit can take place at the premises of the trader and may take into account individual transactions, or cover imports and exports undertaken over a certain period of time.

According to Mr Crentsil, the purpose of post-clearance audits was to ensure that all goods were declared at the time they were being cleared at the port and all revenue due the state calculated and collected.

“It also helps to ensure that restrictions or prohibitions are observed,” he said.

Post-clearance audit, he added, could be conducted on a case-by-case basis, focusing on targeted operators, selected on the grounds of risk analysis of the commodity and the trader, or in a planned, regular way, set out in an annual audit programme.

The audit, he pointed out, could also be used as criteria to grant special concessions to certain economic operators.

As part of the processes for carrying out the audit, Mr Crentsil said the selected company would be notified and an initial meeting held between the company’s officials and the auditors.

“Then we review the company’s systems by examining documentation relating to imports, such as payment orders, quantity ordered, certificates, records entered in books, waybills and financial statement, over a determined period to ensure compliance with the Customs Act. This can help the company to strengthen its internal control systems,” he said.

Before issuing a final report on the audit, he said the team produced an interim report which the company had 10 days to respond to.

The Deputy Commissioner of the Preventive Unit of the Customs Division, Mr Frank Jones Abban, who chaired the function, said the workshop was to highlight the importance of post-clearance audit as an indispensable and intricate part of customs clearance and risk management systems.

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