Ghana: Government to review tax exemptions granted under ECOWAS common external tariff

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Ghana says it is working on reviewing tax exemptions it has granted under the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).

According to the Ministry, some exemptions granted importers would be substituted with other ones that are more suitable.

A Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, made the revelations while responding to calls by Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) for some tax relief.

He said the tax review has become the best option as the government has “almost exhausted” the tax exemption quota.

“We did something for our friends at Abossey Okai and the spare parts; we have done something for raw materials, for production of medicine…The policy guidance we have from our honourable minister and government is that we take a second look at the range of exemptions that we have granted under the CET and to see which ones we can begin to switch,” he said.

He says after the preliminary work is done, the Finance Ministry would engage GUTA to come to a consensus on what existing tax exemption to swap with the upcoming ones.

Mr Kwarteng says the ECOWAS CET agreement allows for variation of imports that are critical to a member country.

The ECOWAS Common External Tariff

The ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) was implemented to provide better trade policy across the sub-region.

This includes applying special protection measures aimed at addressing any trade imbalances across the member states thereby providing a real boost to the manufacturing sector and trading in general.

The CET is also aimed at ensuring transparent customs procedures, reducing border delays and facilitating intra-regional trade.

The decision to have a Common External Tariff was taken at an extraordinary meeting of Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Dakar, Senegal, on 25th October 2013.

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