The removal of import duties on spare-parts and other items will begin in 2018, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said.
This due to completion of the processes and legal framework necessary for implementation of the decision announced by government in its 2017 budget.
It also follows the expected operationisation of the ‘Harmonised System – the ‘ECOWAS Common External Tarif and Other Schedules’- in the coming year, which is based on the revised 2017 version of the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System (HS).
The HS, which Ghana signed to by virtue of its membership of the World Customs Organisation, is the basis upon which tariffs of member countries are decided. It is also the document upon which the ECOWAS Common External Tariff was developed for use by it member countries.
As result of this, the Sector Commander for Brong Ahafo Region and Assistant Commissioner Customs Division of the GRA, Alhaji Yakubu Seidu, emphasised the need for shippers to understand the rates they are to pay on the products and commodities they import into the country.
Speaking in an interview at the backdrop of a sensitisation forum on the HS for importers in Kumasi, he explained the required legal regime has to be put in place – as well as notify the ECOWAS Commission of changes that have taken place in the tariff rates, given Ghana’s membership of the sub-regional body – before the proposed zero rates can be carried out.
These among others, he noted, delayed the plans to abolish taxes on spare-parts – all of which have been incorporated into the Harmonised System: the ECOWAS Common External Tarif and Other Schedules.
The HS is revised within every five years, the latest of which is the 2017 version. The periodic revision has become essential on account of technological problems, changes in trade patterns, and clarification of texts to ensure uniform application among others.
However, Ghana has delayed in implementing the revised 2017 version for a year due to attempts to introduce new tariff changes into it system. But with all the processes completed, implementation of the revised HS is expected to start by January 1, 2018.
To make it easy for shippers to access the revised version of the HS, he said it will be made available on their website, and also made available on flash-drive for users on request while public education continues nationwide.