Experts react to Customs directives on auctions

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has directed that with immediate effect all vehicles and goods cleared at the port for auction will be sold twice the duties payable with additional 50 per cent of the value of the goods.

The directive also said where the original owner of the asset becomes the beneficiary of the auction, the Reserve Price will be twice the duties payable only.

The statement which was issued on Wednesday 16th October, 2019, and signed by the acting Commissioner of Customs, Colonel Kwadwo Damoah, also said the ratio of distribution of auction cars is now 70% to the general public and 30 percent to the Confiscated Asserts Committee (CAC).

The statement also gave up to the 31st of October for beneficiaries of auctioned goods to make payments for clearance or the goods will be forfeited.

These new directives, according to the statement are to take immediate effect and will apply to all new auction sales and allocations.

Meanwhile, reacting to the new directives a former Commissioner of Customs, Wallace Akondor, revealed that the return to prioritize auctions as against allocations of uncleared cargo is a good directive and would be beneficial to the public.

“As long as the public is going to be the beneficiary, then it is a good directive.”

The former Commissioner of Customs however called for a lot more clarity on some aspects of the directive that seem to lay down a formula for calculating duties payable on auction goods.

“So, therefore, these new directives that are coming in, we need to get details of it and know how it going to be,” he added.

The President of the Ghana Institute of Freight forwarders, Kwabena Ofosu Appiah supported the call to have further explanations on the directives for more clarity.

He opined that, with the reserve price of auctions known, buyers would be reluctant to raise their bid which according to him defeats the concept of auctioning in the first place.

“If you want to lift off a certain burden it must be seen that you are lifting off the burden. I just hope and pray that we will get the details otherwise we will confuse reserved price with opening bid. Nobody is going to raise the bid if the reserve price is known,” he asserted.

A former President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Joseph Agbaga, expressed worry over how the values of auction goods would be determined upon which 50% would be computed.

“I just want to know the method we would use to attain these amounts,” he quizzed.

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