Don’t condemn the entire Free Zones – Free Zones boss to GRA

The Ghana Free Zones Authority has stated that it does not support illegal acts and would support the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in carrying out its mandate of policing goods entering and exiting Free Zone areas.

It has consequently asked the GRA not to use the culpability of one Free Zone Company in wrongdoing to provide justification for condemning the entire Free Zone scheme.

The Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti at a press conference on Monday, November 12, this year, said effective December 1, all Free Zone Shops will be made to pay duties on their goods.

According to him, some Free Zone Operators are taking advantage of the regime and diverting goods thereby competing with businesses who pay taxes on their goods.

He explained that the new directive would enable the authority to monitor the diversion of goods by some Free Zone Operators.

Mr Kofi Nti was addressing the media on the diversion of goods from free zone enclaves meant for exportation in Paga in Accra.

He further hinted that “the operations of all Duty Free Shops are going to be subjected to comprehensive audit,” adding that “It has always been our suspicion that the regime was being abused, it is for this reason that GRA has issued an advert stating that effective 1st December 2018, Duty Free Shops will pay customs duty and taxes at the time of importation and apply for a refund.”

However, reacting to Mr Kofi Nti’s press conference, the Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zones Authority, Mr Michael Okyere Baafi in a statement said the Authority has taken some measures and steps, including contracting an independent consultancy to audit all licensed duty free shops and household plastic manufacturing companies found to have violated the Free Zone Act 1995 (ACT504) and its supporting regulations.

“The authority wishes to state unequivocally that Free Zones Enterprises are generally compliant to the Free Zones regulations,” he said, saying “the Authority is therefore urging all its stakeholders to offer the authority the needed support to realize its mission to help transform into the Gateway to West Africa.”

Below is the statement

Statement From Ghana Free Zones Authority On Diversion Of Goods From A Free Zones Enclave Meant For Export To Paga

The Ghana Free Zones Authority’s attention has been drawn to a press briefing addressed by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the diversion of goods by COMET Ghana Limited; A Free Zone Enterprise.

The Ghana Free Zones Authority would like to state that it does not condone any illegal acts and would support the Customs Division of the GRA in carrying out its mandate of policing goods entering and exiting Free Zone areas.

The Authority has taken some measures and steps including contracting an independent consultancy to audit all licensed duty free shops and household plastic manufacturing companies found to have violated the Free Zone Act 1995 (ACT504) and its supporting regulations.

The authority wishes to state unequivocally that Free Zones Enterprises are generally compliant to the Free Zones regulations. The Culpability of one Free Zone Company in wrongdoing should not provide justification for condemning the entire Free Zone scheme. The implementation of the Free Zones policy has created significant amount of direct and indirect employment and has contributed immensely to the economy of Ghana.

The Authority is therefore urging all its stakeholders to offer the authority the needed support to realize its mission to help transform into the Gateway to West Africa.

The Authority wishes to also assure the law abiding Free Zones enterprises that the Ghana Free Zones Authority and its stakeholders will continue to create the conducive environment for their businesses to thrive.

Chief Executive, Michael Okyere Baafi

 

 

 

Source: graphic.com.gh