Ensure accurate duty payment to avoid post clearance audit challenges

From right: The Deputy Ashanti Regional Commander for Customs – Evans Teye Agbozo, Kumasi Branch Manager John B.A Glover, Ashanti Regional Director of Trade and Industry Mr. Osman Mamuda, CEO of GSA Ms. Benonita Bismarck, Ashanti Regional Shipper Committee Chairman Mr. Joseph Amoah. 

– GRA advises shippers

The Deputy Ashanti Regional Commander for Customs, Evans Teye Agbozo, has advised importers and exporters (shippers) to refrain from engaging in unlawful practices to reduce duty payments, as they may face consequences during the Post Clearance Audit process.

Speaking at a seminar on Customs Post Clearance Audit organised by the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) in Kumasi on 18th July, 2023, Mr. Teye Agbozo emphasised that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is aware of such acts and will take all necessary measures to ensure that the state receives the appropriate revenue it is owed.

The GSA organised the seminar in response to recurrent complaints from importers regarding the financial inconveniences they face after undergoing the Post Clearance Audit conducted by the GRA.

Customs Post Clearance Audit involves a systematic examination and verification of customs declarations, supporting documents, and related records after goods have been released from customs control. This process is carried out by customs authorities to ensure compliance with customs laws, regulations and procedures.

The objective of the Post Clearance Audit is to verify the accuracy and correctness of the information provided by importers or exporters during the customs clearance process. It aims to identify any errors, omissions, or irregularities in customs declarations, such as incorrect valuation, misclassification of goods, inaccurate determination of origin, or discrepancies in quantities or weights.

A section of the participants

Mr. Teye Agbozo explained that the Post Clearance Audit is mandated by law, and only importers and exporters who try to circumvent duty payment will be held liable and required to pay any differences found after the audit.

He further explained that during a Post Clearance Audit, customs authorities may select specific transactions for review or conduct random checks on a sample basis. They will scrutinise relevant documents, including invoices, bills of lading, packing lists, contracts and financial records, to assess the accuracy and authenticity of the provided information. Interviews with importers, exporters and other relevant parties may also be conducted to gather additional information or seek clarification.

In her keynote address at the seminar, Ms. Benonita Bismarck, the CEO of the GSA, stated that the authority’s aim is to ensure that importers and exporters are well-informed to avoid actions that may lead to future difficulties.

“We are here today to gain a better understanding of the Customs Post Clearance Audit regime and how to comply without disadvantaging the shipper, while also ensuring that the government receives the appropriate revenue generated from the businesses of our shippers,” she said.

Participants at the seminar were drawn from the Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regions. They expressed their enthusiasm and urged the GRA to conduct regular educational sessions on similar challenges to empower them.

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