Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Ceding Tax Revenues To Destination Inspection Companies No Longer Makes Sense

If we are to realise the full potential of our homeland Ghana - at a time when we need to raise sufficient revenues to develop Ghana with - we must make it impossible for any individual to put his or her personal interest above the national interest,  in negotiating and signing agreements, on our nation's behalf.

Agreements that are inimical to Ghana, but which redound to the benefit of some of our ruling elites, can cause endless problems for society at large, in the long run.

The agreement with destination inspection companies is an example. An agreement that is the financial equivalent of a bleeding wound hemorrhaging tax revenues is intolerable at this point in time in our national life.

Today, importers and exporters, overburdened with taxes and sundry levies,  are up in arms against the authorities. Key amongst targets of their ire, are the destination inspection companies - which they believe are trying to create new business opportunities to enable them continue milking Mother Ghana dry: at their expense.

The question is: instead of crippling the businesses of individuals and companies, exporting and importing goods in and out of the country, with additional taxes and charges, why do the authorities not end the foolish policy of giving a percentage of the total amount collected in taxes from our ports, to destination inspection companies - to which work that can be efficiently and easily done by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has been outsourced?

The only Ghanaians who benefit from this unconscionable drain on the public purse, are the fat-cats whose well-rewarded influence-peddling, ensures the protection of the destination inspection companies in Ghana - and guarantees that what is an arrangement that is of no real value to our national economy, continues to remain in place.

Apparently, a key factor in their winning business here, was their ability to  install X-ray scanners at the ports. Yet, those in the import-export trade, who are against the continued presence of destination inspection companies in Ghana, say that the scanners are unable to distinguish between new and secondhand goods, for example.

Neither can they tell the true invoice values of goods in the containers they scan - nor can they reveal whether or not those goods pose a danger to consumers.

In the view of critics of the destination inspection companies, if the scanners have any value at all, it lies not in revenue generation and protection, but perhaps in detecting (when they work) contraband that could compromise national security.

In any case, the scanners have been paid for many times over, from the revenues ceded to the destination inspection companies, over the years they have been in business here, And, apparently, under-invoicing and other fraudulent practices, still exist in the importation of goods into the country, despite their presence here.

The destination inspection companies must must leave our shores and find business elsewhere in other jurisdictions. Ghana no longer needs their services.

Ceding tax revenues to destination inspection companies - and overburdening small and medium scale businesses instead, to make up for the lost revenue - no longer makes sense.

They are an egregious example of the baleful influence of vested interests in our homeland Ghana, and a massive drain on the public purse. Under no circumstances should the government of President Mahama renew the contracts of the destination inspection companies in Ghana, when they finally expire this year. Enough is enough.

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