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To ensure tax revenue protection, Ghana is set to introduce a new set of rules at its ports of entry to regulate transit trading through the country’s ports, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia said Monday.

According to him the new rule known as First Port Duty Rule are intended to tackle smuggling arising from diverted transit goods supposedly meant for landlocked countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Opening the 39th Council and Conference of the Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA), Bawumia lamented the volumes of taxes lost to both Ghana and the supposed destination countries.

The Vice President told the delegates who included directors of ports from 15 West and Central African countries and representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that for the most part, the goods never left Ghana.

Under the First Port Duty Rule, Customs officials of the landlocked nations will therefore be stationed at Ghana’s entry points, and the importer will be directed to the appropriate country desk to pay if indeed it is transit goods.

There have been reported cases of many goods labeled and released for transit either sold inside Ghana or sent through unapproved routes to the said destinations, thereby depriving both Ghana and the eventual destination the necessary revenue.

The government of Ghana according to Bawumia intended to undertake a series of trade missions to these countries to strengthen ties and demonstrate their commitment to making Ghana’s corridors and the ports friendly for their patronage.

Revenue shortfalls have been a major headache for Ghana, whose economy awaits another rebasing this year after the 2010 round of rebasing which classified Ghana as a lower middle income country. Enditem

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