GRA risks missing 2019 revenue target as benchmark values reduction backfires

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is set to miss out on its revenue target for 2019 as  the decision by government to slash the import benchmark values by about 50 percent takes a toll, Commissioner of Customs, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah has said.

The customs division boss explained that the reduction in the benchmark values has affected expected revenue from imports and this is expected to continue.

The midyear-budget review also saw the Finance Minister peg revenue target for this year to GHS58.89 billion.

In April 2019, the government announced a fifty percent reduction in the benchmark values of all imports while vehicles witnessed a thirty percent drop.

This was to make Ghana competitive as well as provide competitive alternative to other ports in West Africa.

But Colonel Kwadwo Damoah tells Citi Business News this has rather challenged his outfit.

“With the Customs Division we have a challenge which has come about as a result of government policies where all vehicles coming into the country have had their benchmark values reduced by thirty percent while that of all other goods had their value reduced by fifty percent. So we start at a disadvantageous position,” he remarked.

Gov’t misses revenue target for 2019 half year

Between January and June this year, the country had raked in GHS22.7 billion compared to a target of GHS29.95 billion.

Notwithstanding, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah believes the domestic revenue collection unit will have to do more to boost revenue for the rest of the year.

“If the reduction in import volumes and values were to favour our local industries where we have more manufacturing locally and more exports, then that should be something to be happy about. But if the reduction in imports in terms of volumes and values do not impact on the domestic revenue side, then it means on the whole we are going to lose out,” he added.

Reshuffling at GRA
Other reforms taken by the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Atta include a reshuffling of top management of the GRA.

This had also been influenced by the fact that the GRA revenue shortfall has led to an accumulated gap of about ¢3.5 billion cedis in revenue over the last three years.

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