THE ASSISTANT Commissioner of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in charge of Public Relations, Ms. Annie Anipa, has revealed that the Service has identified doctoring of invoices, misdescription of goods, under-declaration of goods and sometimes over-invoicing, as some of the abuses its officers encounter on a daily basis on declared values. THE ASSISTANT Commissioner of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in charge of Public Relations, Ms. Annie Anipa,“In an attempt to cheat the system, some importers present fake invoices to cover their goods, misdescribe goods or under-declare the quantities of items imported. They also conceal goods to avoid detection”.
Miss Anipa disclosed this at this year's Tax Education Campaign in Obuasi under the theme 'a pre-requisite for effective mobilization of customs duties and taxes'. She said apart from resulting in revenue loss, these abuses also posed a security risk to the state.
She said in order to discourage the practice, severe penalties were imposed on offenders. “The current penalty for such offences is up to 300 percent of the duty tax liable and prosecution, depending on the gravity of the offence.”
The Assistant Commissioner said there had been a massive increase in the smuggling of textiles along the frontiers since regulations were made for the channeling of all imports through the Takoradi port and added that the service had seized wax prints from Aflao, Ho, Sunyani, Tamale and the airport with a tax value totaling over ¢72 billion.
“It is most disheartening to encounter some persons who even go further to send sample of Ghanaian prints to other countries like china, for reproduction into cheaper textiles, which are later smuggled back into Ghana,” she lamented, and cautioned that the illegal acts infringe not only national but also international laws on piracy and counterfeiting.
The importance of CEPS as an institution, she said, derived from the significant contribution it makes in revenue generation for the running of the economy, its security functions and the agency duties it performs on behalf of some government institutions, adding, “The service collects about 55 percent of total tax revenue”.
Miss Anipa said the service alone collected 11.3 trillion cedis last year and had targeted to collect 14 trillion cedis this year.
She said government introduced some incentives in this year's budget, which included a zero rate import duty on off-highway dumpers with gross weight exceeding twenty tons, and the abolishment of five concessionary import duty rates on essential inputs for the local textile industry, all in an effort to improve tax compliance.
She therefore called for the support of all and sundry since CEPS alone cannot achieve its revenue and non-revenue targets.
In his opening address, the Service's sector Commander - Kumasi, Mr. Cyril Kwaku Duah Mensah, said the purpose of the programme was to afford CEPS the platform to review the expectations of its stakeholders.
He said as a contribution towards making Ghana the gateway of West Africa, the service was implementing programmes to mobilize and automate customers' procedures and processes to facilitate trade, investment and movement of people across the country's borders.
The Presiding Member of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, Nana Asirifi Asare II, who chaired the function, said the programme was useful since the country's revenue mobilization should be a concern for all.
He urged the leadership of the service to do everything possible to eliminate any staff whose activities undermined the Service's efforts to attain revenue targets set for the year.