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The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has expressed its readiness to take over the functions of the Destination Inspection Companies (DICs) in September this year.

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Customs in charge of Post Clearance Audit, Mr Isaac Crentsil said a lot of work was ongoing for the proper takeover of the companies, in line with plans to enhance the coordination of border management arrangements with other government agencies.

Mr. Crentsil disclosed this to The Finder after meeting freight forwarders on the intended takeover.

Government in 2000 introduced the concept of destination inspection to replace the pre-shipment inspection system, which involved the inspection of imports before shipment from the country of supply. Destination inspection is a concept that was introduced to enhance customs functions as a stop-gap measure while waiting for reforms and modernisation.

According to Mr. Crentsil, over 70% of staff working for DICs are customs officers seconded to the DCIS and, therefore, the expertise needed abounds.

He explained that the staff who were seconded to DICs would revert to Customs once the takeover takes place.

Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, Tax Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, noted that revenue targets for the first and second quarters were exceeded.

He noted that for the first six months of this year, imports rated as zero dropped from 12.89% in 2014 to 6.91% this year while imports rated 5% also dropped from 29.64% to 14.205.

However, he added that imports 10% jumped from 20.65% last year to 33.02% in the first six months of 2015.

Also, goods rated 20% increased from 20.44% in 2014 to 22.43% this year.

Dr Larbi-Siaw expressed worry that exemptions on imports jumped from 16.18% in 2014 to 23.45% in the first six months on this year. He announced that exemptions in the Ghana Investment Promotion Law and Free Zones enclave had been reviewed.

He noted that basic exemptions would now be in the income tax law while GIPC would determine exemptions for big projects that cost $50m and above.

President of the Ghana Institution of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr Joseph Agbeli called for capacity building for freight forwarders as they play critical roles in international trade.

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