Ghana seems to be on the way to becoming the “Port of West Africa” with the government recently announcing a 50% slash on the benchmark value of import duties affecting general cargo, and a 30% slash on the benchmark value for vehicles.
Benchmarks can be defined as the standard or reference point against which something can be measured, in this case a standard for valuing commodities. Since duty is calculated as a percentage of benchmark value, a reduction in the benchmark value correlates with a reduction in duty to be paid.
Eg. If Duty is 10% of a consignment benchmarked at USD 30,000, duty to be paid would be USD 3000. Now that benchmark value is slashed by 50%, duty will be calculated at 10% by USD 15,000 arriving at USD 1,500; giving the importer an early Christmas. Other taxes and levies still apply though.
This announcement was welcomed by Importers, and other industry stakeholders.
Apart from this, the physical examination of containers is to be reduced from 75% being flagged red for physical examination to 10%. This means that majority of containers will be examined using scanners. Hitherto the physical examination of containers has been a major stress factor and avenue for graft.
Ghana seems to be poised to take on rival ports like Togo and Benin across the West African coastline with these interventions.
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