Manufacturers desiring to export products to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will have to seek approval for their products under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) to be covered under the Common External Tariff (CET) regime.
Speaking at the 2016 public tax seminar in Ho, the Chief Revenue Officer in charge of Preventive at the Ho Customs Division, Mr Ebenezer Kenney, said the products must first satisfy the ‘Rules of Origin’ criteria to be registered under CET.
Rules of Origin is used to determine the country of origin of a product. The country of source (origin) is normally considered to be where a substantial transformation (value addition) to the product took place. The Rules of Origin test under the CET is, therefore, to ensure that a product is substantially manufactured within ECOWAS and not imported intermediary or semi-finished goods which would only be packed locally and exported to a neighbouring country.
Mr Kenney, therefore, advised manufacturers to submit their applications to the National Approvals Committee which exists in each member country for approval.
Explaining further, he said that CET also mandated all ECOWAS states to apply the same import duty rates on goods entering the sub-region from third party countries (outside the sub-region).
Benefits of CET, he said, included ensuring stability in the various ECOWAS economies as price variations would reduce, establishing a larger single market, promoting competition, as well as enhancing the quality of products.
The participants were also taken through Customs clearance procedures, the single window concept, the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) with particular reference to the offences and penalties, as well as the general information about the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).
Exceeding mid-year target
Talking about gains made this year, the Ho sector commander, Mr Frank Cudjoe Ashong, announced that the collection exceeded its target for the mid-year by 25.4 per cent.
As of August 2016, the total revenue collected within the Ho collection zone amounted to GH¢6. 38 million as against a mid-year target of GH¢5 million.
Mr Ashong said the revenue target for the year for the zone was GH¢8.54 million and “looking at how far we have reached in the first half, we believe we would also exceed that as well.”
The Volta region has two zones, Ho and Aflao.
He said through public education such as they had, the stakeholders had a tremendous understanding of the various taxes. Mr Ashong commended officers of the division for exceeding expectation but urged them to continue the hard work in mobilising more revenues since’‘ the realisation of the government‘s home-grown policy largely depended on internally generated revenue.”