The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has clarified issues surrounding the application of benchmark values in determining customs values for duty purposes.

A statement issued by the GRA on Wednesday said the Benchmark Values are not meant to replace or substitute transactional values, but “They are only used when the conditions for the acceptance of the Transactional values are not met.”

It further explained that goods are benchmarked to the prevailing world prices as a risk management tool, to reflect the true market dynamics of those commodities.

“The GRA therefore wishes to inform the general public that, Customs valuation is based on international best practices, procedures and treaties that Ghana has acceded to and passed into the Customs Act.

“We wish to inform members of the trading community that they have a right to appeal to the Commissioner-General for a possible review of any Customs valuation they deem unfair,” portions of the release read.

Customs valuation

Customs valuation is based on the General Agreement on Trade & Tariff (GATT), Article VII which is adhered to by all member countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This has been captured under Section 67 & 68 of the Customs Act 2015, Act (891).

Customs valuation primarily relies on the first (1st) out of the six (6) methods of valuation provided under the WTO valuation methods, which is the Transactional value.

However, where the Customs values cannot be determined under the first method of the WTO methods of valuation, some risk management tools allowed by the laws and procedures are used to determine the value under Methods 2 to 6 of the WTO methods. This includes the use of reference price list otherwise known as the Benchmark Values.

Benchmark Value

The Benchmark Value Discount Policy was introduced in April 2019 by government in an attempt to make the Ghanaian ports competitive, reduce smuggling and increase government’s revenue from the port. The policy provided a discount of 50% on the delivery or benchmark values of imports with the exception of vehicles. The delivery values for vehicles were reduced by 30%.

The Finance Minister, in the 2022 Budget Statement, indicated government’s intention to review the policy in respect of all imports followed by a communication to remove the discount policy.

The government however suspended moves to remove the discount policy to allow for extensive stakeholder engagement on the viability of the policy and its impact on both government revenue and the domestic manufacturing industry.

Following consultation between government and relevant stakeholders, government announced a revision of the policy resulting in a reduction in the discount offered on the delivery values of imports.

The discount offered for vehicles is now 10% (from 30%) and 30% for all other goods (from 50%). The change became effective on Tuesday, 01 March 2022. – Additional file from Deloitte