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11.08.2005 Business & Finance

ECOWAS to implement common external tariff soon

By GNA

Kumasi, Aug. 11, GNA- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will soon implement a common external tariff system to harmonise the payment of import duties in the West African Sub-region. The move is also aimed at checking and discouraging smuggling by traders and importers since the system will ensure uniformity in the payment of import duties in all ECOWAS countries.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, announced this in Kumasi on Wednesday when he was addressing the Ashanti region branch of the Association of Small-Scale Importers. Representatives of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade and Industry also attended the meeting.

Mr Agyemang-Manu cautioned personnel of CEPS and IRS who connived with people to evade tax or engage in smuggling to refrain from the practices since they would be severely dealt with when caught. He urged the personnel to go about their duties diligently to enable them collect enough revenue for development.

Mr Agyemang-Manu said the government was committed to creating an enabling environment for the private sector to contribute effectively to national development.

Madam Gifty Ohene Konadu, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament (MP) for Asante-Akim South, said the ministry would as from next year liaise with the association to organise entrepreneurship courses for its members to build their capacity. She said: "You must seek to understand government policies and opportunities being created so as to take advantage of them".

Mrs Philippa Obeng-Addai, President of the Ashanti branch of the association, appealed to the government to step up efforts at spreading the tax net since the situation where few people, especially those in the formal sector honoured their tax obligation constantly, did not augur well for the country. 11 Aug. 05

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