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ECOWAS tariffs Nothing can be done about CET, GRA tells GUTA

GUTA and the Exporters and Importers Association of Ghana are calling for the suspension of the CET.

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The ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) which came into effect February 1, 2016 is already facing resistance by the Ghana  Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and the Exporters and Importers Association of Ghana.

The two bodies are calling on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to suspend the implementation of the CET else they will hit the street to protest if it not put on hold.

However, the Chief Revenue Officer of the Customs Service Division of the GRA, Dr Okoh Appiah told Accra based Citi FM that nothing can be done about it.

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According to him, Ghana had a limited commodity code tariffs lines to "submit to ECOWAS Commission for consideration."

He said Ghana could not factor everything into the CET.

The executive director of the Importers and Exporters Association, Samson Awingobite said the implementation of the ECOWAS tariffs means that some of Ghana's custom duties must be reduced while others must be removed completely.

" We are petitioning the Ministry of Trade, the Chief of Staff, and the even the ECOWAS Parliament on Ghana's need to fully comply with the ECOWAS Common Tariff Regime."

He said government is not respecting and abiding by the negotiated tariffs as agreed upon by the ECOWAS Parliament.

" 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."

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

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.

New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima-Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu-Bio has said the CET will hurt Ghana's timber industry.

According to the MP, Ghana's timber industry has a unique challenge different from those that exist in other member states, adding the decision to impose taxes on imported timber will further hurt the local industry.

 

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