By Julian Owusu-Abedi
There have been negative media reports about some gold exports from Ghana to foreign refineries especially in the United Arab Emirates that needs to be explained.
According to Mr. Daniel Krampah, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Bullion Traders Ghana (CBTG) it is administratively impossible for any registered gold company to engage in gold smuggling given the rigid regimes for gold export in the country and overseas.
Readers will recall that recent media reports indicated that gold worth Five Billion Dollars (US$5billion) exported from Ghana to the United Arab Emirates has not been accounted for and is linked to the activities of gold exporters who allegedly smuggled the commodity out of the country.
He explained that Customs regime in both Ghana and UAE are so rigid that it is impossible to ‘beat’ the systems. He said that before gold is exported from the Kotoka International Airport the exporting company has to assay the gold at the Precious Minerals Marketing Company assay laboratory at the airport to determine the quantity, quality and value of the gold. An assay certificate and other documents will be issued on the gold to be exported after the payment of the necessary taxes, fees and charges. The gold is certified by the Customs Division of the GRA and handed over to the airline which also certifies itself that the right documentations have been issued on the export.
At the destination point further verifications are done to determine the origin of the gold, the quantity, quality and value are per the documents accompanying the gold. Any discrepancies with the documentation will lead to the gold being impounded or repatriated to the country of origin.
He further explained that members of the CBTG are mindful of international rules governing the gold trade. Members deal with certified refineries and thus operate according to OECD guidelines some of which requires refineries to purchase minerals from only legitimate entities and no refinery will accept gold not accompanied by customs documentation from country of origin.
The CEO proposed that to check any leakages in the gold export chain Government should review the withholding tax rate on unprocessed precious minerals from 3% to 1% to conform with what pertains in the neighbouring countries.
Customs could also reconcile export figures from the UNIPASS system and exchange data with importing countries periodically to ascertain actual gold exports from Ghana.
He concluded by saying that currently the CBTG is in talks with Government on the reduction of the withholding tax.