The industrial city King, Dr. Nii Adjei Kraku ll, has praised government’s decision to postpone the full implementation of the Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) to October, in order to create room to further educate importers on the essence of the new system.
However, even before the education would enlighten business owners and gain acceptance among them, Nii says that the revelation from the pilot implementation of the CTN, that Ghana lost some $14.4million in July alone is good enough reason for government to pursue the full implementation of the CTN.
“The most worrying aspect of the whole thing is that the biggest culprits are government agencies and big businesses who engage in trade malpractices to rob the State to pay themselves,” Nii Tema lamented.
As the overlord of Ghana’s biggest port, Nii Kraku said the revenue leakage is a painful reality that underscores the extent to which badly needed revenue for the development of port cities like Tema are being stolen by unscrupulous people.
Massive undervaluation and overvaluation of imports by big private institutional importers and state agencies which import goods on behalf of the government, are reported to have occasioned the losses.
According to the Commissioner of Customs, Mr Isaac Crentsil, “massive under- invoicing and overvaluation” by importers, ostensibly to conceal the real values of their imports and in the process outwit tax officers and the state is what is bleeding the country so badly.
The amount lost was made up of $11.6 million and £2.1 million. Data sourced from the CTN platform, which required that importers furnished the GRA with details of their cargo prior to shipment, exposed the practices..
“What will make anybody go and buy something with euros and come and declare in dollars to avoid paying the right duties?” Nii Adjei Kraku ll asked. He said he was disappointed that the full implementation of a laudable program like the CTN has been put on hold because importers are unhappy about it. Nii said, the government should not lose focus over this delay, urging that it arrests and prosecute all those who are found culpable.
He lamented that all governments, from that of President Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills, Mahama and now President Akufo Addo are doing their best to raise revenue for the country while some people stay back and sabotage such efforts.
Nii urged the government not to be discouraged, saying, “It is also a good thing that we have a listening President. But I will urge President Akufo-Addo to go ahead with the implementation immediately the education campaign completes in October.”
Full implementation of the CTN was scheduled for 1st September, this year. But has since been postponed to October, after the commencement of a pilot face was resisted by some traders, shippers and importers.