The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), which officially began yesterday, has come to stay.
The implementation, according to GRA, is to provide greater scrutiny of major imports for both valuation and security management purposes.
Speaking at a media conference in Accra, Commissioner-General Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti said: “Our friends from the media, I wish to assure you that CTN has come to stay. I once again appeal to you to help GRA sensitise the trading and general public about benefits the nation stands to gain in our efforts to actualise the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
He explained: “From Monday, 15th October 2018, importers whose imports – from records – exceed 36 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) per year will be required to obtain a CTN Number in the country of export.
“This means any importer who imports less than 36 TEUs per year is exempt from CTN compliance. Further, businesses that import more than 36 TEUs per year but can demonstrate that the nature of their imports and their turnovers make them small importers will also be exempt,” he said.
He indicated that the exemptions are to ensure that small- and medium-scale importers – mostly petty-traders, market women and men, small distributors, and other small to medium businesses – are free from the requirements of this intervention.
He said government will monitor closely implementation of the important Customs-management tool, with a view to learning the needed lessons and adjusting the scope and mechanics of the policy to achieve both the valuation and security enhancement objectives of the intervention.
“We thank all stakeholders for their cooperation as Ghana Customs prepares toward the rollout of this national exercise,” he stated.
Explaining the module, Mr. Nti said the CTN is a risk assessment engine that allows Customs and other authorities to effectively control, supervise and manage import traffic.
“The CTN module is a system in which shippers upload information on their Cargo onto a global platform. This is then made available to Cargo Tracking Notes (GH Ltd.). The information to be provided includes the Export documents, Commercial invoice, Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin and Freight invoice among others.”
By introducing CTN, the Authority seeks to improve its services via aligning its operations along with Trade Facilitation and Security Recommendations by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and World Customs Organisation (WCO); and in accordance with new standards for international cooperation between member-states of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
“By implementing the CTN system, Customs is seeking to modernise its operations to facilitate the movement of legitimate trade in line with international best practices. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance, GRA in partnership with Messrs. (CTN) Ghana Limited announced the introduction of the CTN system/module to Ghana and programmed it to be implemented effective 13th February, 2018,” he said.
The CTN was subsequently suspended but reintroduced to be run on a pilot basis for three months from 1st July, 2018. The pilot, which however ran for two months up to August 2018, revealed the level of revenue leakages in the present Customs Verification of documents, Classification and Valuation, Mr. Nti added.
Benefits of CTN
According to the GRA, the CTN will provide data to Ghana Customs and other stakeholders in advance to enable Cargo Review Processes in a manner that ensures generation of key prior-shipment information in real-time to effectively Control, Supervise, and Manage import traffic into Ghana.
It will also help with the collation of a reliable trade database to benchmark & protect government revenue in import duties and taxes, as well as plugging identified loopholes and leakages in order to preserve the sanctity and integrity of Customs valuation for goods and freight.
The CTN is targetted at safeguarding and facilitation of trade in order to significantly reduce the turnaround time for Cargo Clearance, which in turn will allow importers to avoid the payment of heavy demurrage fees and generally reduce the cost of doing business.
Again, it will ensure the provision of a one-stop comprehensive and broader view of the global logistics chain to Customs, the Port Authority and other structures of control, which will eliminate duplications and enhance reporting requirements.