The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) warns it will not hesitate to prosecute exporters of petroleum products who engage in fuel smuggling from Ghana to neighbouring countries.
According to the GRA, it will push for the license of such individuals or companies to be revoked by the National Petroleum Authority while it also blacklists them.
Speaking to Citi Business News,the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Communication and Public Affairs at the GRA, Robert Nana Mensah said the offenders could also be jailed.
“For this particular and other situation where smuggling has taken place or non compliance has taken place, first, the duty involved has to be paid. The Commissioner Customs or the Commissioner General can also levy penalties from 20% to 300% on the original cost of the duty which will be addition to it.”
Robert Nana Mensah further stated that “we also let them enter into bonds with an insurance company and that bond is also invoked from the insurance company which is used to defray the cost of duty that needs to be paid.”
He added, “We will also as a last resort, send people to court for second levels of jail sentences if need be.”
New guidelines to clamp down fuel smuggling
The GRA has issued new guidelines aimed at checking the rising incidence of fuel smuggling into Ghana.
The new guidelines which took effect last week Thursday, September 1st, is intended to end the abuse of the export and re-exports regimes of the industry while ending increasing revenue losses.
According to the GRA, any deviations from the new guidelines would constitute prima facia evidence of an attempt to breach Customs Control and would lead to perpetrators being penalized in line with existing legislation.
Under the new directive all traders who are engaged in the petroleum product export and re-export are required to abide by the guidelines for the documentation and removal of their respective consignments from the loading bay.
New regulations to avert revenue losses
Government is losing huge revenue due to the increasing number of smuggling incidents in the industry, but according to the GRA, the new guidelines will end the increasing revenue loses.
To reinforce the move all exporters from the 1st of September 2016 are expected to obtain an export license from the National Petroleum Authority in order to be allowed to lift petroleum products for export/re-export from Ghana.
Drivers of the BRVs shall sign an undertaking with Customs before dispatch as each BRV carrying part of the consignment shall report to all the Customs checkpoints along the route for routine checks to be conducted.
At any checkpoint, a checking officer shall record his/her findings on the Ghana Customs Management System (GCMS) or, where there is no GCMS workstation, a Customs Register has been designed for the purpose.
Meanwhile the GRA says the guidelines are for strict enforcement and says any implementation difficulties should be addressed to the office of the Commissioner General of the GRA.