The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Friday reminded car importers to use the services of clearing agents to clear their goods at the various ports.
Mr Justice Njornan Magah Ydjayime, Supervisor at the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), giving the advice said for the purposes of accountability and due to the technical nuances associated with customs house business, importers needed the services of clearing agents.
“These agents were trained by Customs to the level of a Senior Revenue Officer therefore, they are equipped with the technical know-how to deal with Customs,” Mr. Yadjayime stated.
He said per Ghana’s laws, clearing agents were the only ones allowed to clear goods at the various ports and frontiers of the country, emphasizing that following the purchase of a vehicle and shipment by the shipper, one needs the services of a clearing agent.
Outlining the Customs clearing process at Ghana’s ports, he said the agents would then have to submit the details of the bill of lading of the shipment, which contains the details of the car into the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
He added that Customs requires that the bill of lading captures the make, model or special features explaining that is what is on the manifest the shipping line sends to customs therefore the bill of lading should tally with the manifest.
He said after the submission of the declaration to Customs through the ICUMS, it then goes through three stages namely classification, valuation, and the supervisor stage.
Mr Yadjayime indicated that the classification officer then assigns an HS Code “a standardized numerical method classifying traded products” to the car, which gives the specific descriptions of the particular imported product.
At the valuation level, an officer verifies and uses the classification information to assign a value through Customs installed software that provides value of all vehicles from the various zones. The Supervisor then verifies all the details and approves the bill of entry.
He said from the supervisor stage, it goes directly to the declarant who could then accept or appeal the valuation “in the event of acceptance, declarant will have to pay via any of the accepted commercial banks as well as fulfil payment requirements of the various stakeholders in the clearance chain such as the shipping lines and the terminal operators”.
After acquiring the shipping line release, declarant can then book for physical examination, adding that terminal handling charges however were also prerequisite to examination by Customs.
He mentioned that should examination be vetted successfully, customs would allow delivery of cargo, after prevention checks at the exit points of the port indicating that the various checks and balances were essential to ensure no revenue leakages or security implications were suffered.
Touching on disparities of duties, Mr. Yadjayime noted that differences in duties of same vehicles could be as a result of exchange rate disparities at different clearance times as well as the origin of vehicles.
He added that vehicles with special features, can also attract more duties even though they could be of the same model, hence it was important for importers to note these distinctions and also get themselves abreast with the clearance process.
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