Govt Suspends Import VAT On Phones, Day Old Chicks, Others

Government has suspended the charging of import VAT on some 64 commodity groups effective Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The decision was arrived at after extensive consultation between the government and various stakeholders.

Citi Business News understands that the charges have been implemented since the 1st of March this year.

The traders of such commodities comprising, mobile phones, day old chicks, outboard motors and electrical transformers, have resisted the taxes citing the high cost of operation.

A statement signed by Information Minister, Mustapha Hameed and copied to Citi Business News confirmed the suspension.

“The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) suspends with immediate effect, the charging of import VAT on the 64 commodity groups which started on March 1, 2018, leading to an unintended hike in import charges,” it said.

It also indicated that it is pending an assessment of Harmonised code for customs which were reviewed on March 1st, 2018.

On March 1, 2018, government rolled out two tax policies; the excise tax stamp and the Harmonised ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).

Tax Stamp requires that Excise Tax Stamps should be fixed on specified excisable products to enhance security and tracking features on those products.

The excise tax stamp will affect businesses that are engaged in the importation or manufacturing of excisable goods such as canned or bottled drinks, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, cigarette and tobacco products.

On the other hand, the Harmonised ECOWAS CET will affect importers of goods classified under the CET.

Although the CET is being implemented at the ports, Citi Business News understands that an international review of the system has led to the addition of new products such as tripod which attracts 20 percent tariff to be borne by importers of the product among others.

Some economists have suggest to Citi Business News that the move has become apparent as government is expected to rake in enough revenue to provide funding for some key government projects such as the free Senior High School programme.