Remove Covid-19 Levy and other outmoded taxes from port transactions – government told

Source The Ghana Report

The Vice President of the Association of Customs Housing Agents Ghana, Philip Badu Mensah, has urged the government to remove COVID-19 Levy and other outmoded taxes from transactions at the ports. 

According to him, Ghanaian importers are facing unnecessary burdens due to outdated taxes at the country’s ports.

In an interview with Joy Business on the sidelines of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority’s First Time Release Study Report, Mr. Mensah urged the government to revisit its taxation strategy at the ports, arguing that these charges hinder efficiency and competitiveness.

He further highlighted three of these specific taxes he believes are no longer relevant:

State warehouse rent

He said “The goods are not in the hands of the state, it is in the hands of private operators, but the state is taking rent which is not applicable”.

He argued that this tax predates containerization and should be abolished.

Interest charges 

According to him, “In the 70s, importers were given money to go to the market and bring goods”.

Mr. Mensah explained that “So, when you bring the goods and you are not clearing them on time, then there is interest on the money they have given you. But today, nobody is giving anybody money. So, the goods are at the port, and you are charging interest on them. These are the charges we are trying to speak to the authorities on them.”

COVID-19 levy 

Mr. Mensah believes this temporary levy implemented in 2021 should be discontinued due to its extended duration.

He stated, “As policymakers, we are pleading with the state to ensure that these few (outmoded) taxes are removed to ease the cost of doing business at the ports.”

Continuing Mr. Mensah emphasised the negative impact these taxes have on businesses: “These charges are making it difficult for us to compete with other ports in the sub-region,” he said. “Removing these outmoded taxes will enhance the ease of doing business at the ports and make port operations competitive within the sub-region.”

By advocating for the removal of these outdated taxes, Mr. Mensah hopes to streamline port operations, reduce operating costs for businesses, and ultimately strengthen Ghana’s position as a competitive player within the regional trade landscape.

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