Some importers of rice and other major food items say they may be compelled to resort to smuggling if nothing is done about the smuggling of food items along the country’s border with Cote d’Ivoire.
They said the high incidence of smuggling of rice along that border is threatening their business, as they are unable to compete with the cheaper prices quoted by the smugglers.
The Finder’s investigations reveal that over $100 million is lost to government annually in the form of import levies lost to the food smugglers.
An industry player who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “There is no reason why rice is imported from Cote d’Ivoire when that country does not produce rice.”
He called on the government to limit the importation of rice and other food products through the Tema and Takoradi ports as a means of checking the smuggling menace.
Information gathered indicated that importers in Ghana pay 20% import duties, 12.5% VAT and 4.5% levies, totalling 37% of taxes, while importers in Cote d'Ivoire only pay 2.5% VAT but no import duties or levies.
Rice imports into Ghana rose from 450,000 metric tonnes in 2011 to 496,000 metric tonnes in 2012, but the figure increased from 800,000 metric tonnes to 950,000 metric tonnes within the same period in Cote d’Ivoire.
Source: Henrietta Brocke/The Finder/Ghana
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