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ECOWAS tariffs Finance Ministry to review CET in 5 years time

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and GUTA have accused government of selecting applying the law.

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The Head of Tax Policy Unit at the Finance Ministry, Anthony Dzadzra, has said Ghana will adjust the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) within the next five years following complains by the Ghana  Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana.

“All that CET did, that in the next five years, any country that feels strongly about the sudden change of rates should just list them and bring it to ECOWAS, and it will be given approval to do something about it.  In those five years you are supposed to adjust,” Mr Dzadzra was quoted by Citi FM as saying.

“In Ghana there is a reason why our rice is 20 percent because we are protecting local rice and we will continue to protect them.  In the next five years we have to do is to help the local rice producers to produce competitively so that in the next five years, we will reduce to 10 percent. This period should make them learn to package, add quality to them so that after five years naturally, the competition with the foreign rice will be reduced,” he added.

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana and GUTA have accused government of selecting applying the CET.

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According to them, where the CET requires high tariffs, government has complied with the law . However, where tariffs are supposed to come down in line with the CET, government is reneging on that.

" Whereas the ECOWAS Common Tariff Regime stipulates a 10% import duty  on rice, Ghana is charging 20%. It must be a flat 10% in accordance to the stipulations" Samson Awingobite, the executive director of the Importers and Exporters Association told Pulse business.

" Our Francophone counterparts like the Ivorians do not charge levies like the National Health Insurance Levy and the Value Added Tax as part of their import charges. This means that government will have to streamline those charges charges to,." he added.

The CET is one of the instruments of harmonising ECOWAS Member States and strengthening its Common Market.

The law is composed of four tariff rates of custom duty, namely 0 % for Essential Social Goods, 5% for Goods of Primary Necessity, Raw Materials and Specific Inputs, 10% for Intermediate Goods and 20% for Final Consumption Goods.

The law came into effect following the passage of the Customs (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 905), by the Ghana Revenue Authority.

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