The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has affirmed that, from November 1, 2020, it will begin enforcing the law that bans the importation of salvaged vehicles into Ghana, barring any unanticipated circumstances, and if all provisions stipulated in the law are fulfilled.
However, for vehicles over 10 years of age, it will require the Finance Minister, in consultation with the Minister responsible for Trade, through a legislative instrument, to specify a date on which a motor vehicle of such nature will not be allowed into the country.
In an interview with the media, the Assistant Commissioner of Customs in charge of Policy and Programmes, Mr Aweya Julius Kantum, disclosed that the prohibition against the importation of salvaged motor vehicles into the country shall come into force six months after the date of the coming into force of this related Act.
He explained that, for every used vehicle that will be brought into the country from the day after the law takes effect, shippers or importers will be required to provide a clean title as well as ensure that the cars are not wrecked, destroyed or physically damaged by collision, fire, water or any other occurrence.
“The other one which talks about the specification of the date where Chapter 87 of the first schedule of the customs tariff, i.e. heading 87.03 and 87.04 where the duty rate is expected to go up to 35%; that has to be on the basis of a legislative instrument,” he added.
In addition, Mr Kantum said the law will apply to any vehicle that is brought by a vessel that docks on November 1 and beyond. He further indicated that the law was made to protect the local automotive industry.
“One must avert himself/herself with the internment of the law; if the import duty remains very law, how can local manufacturers or assemblers be able to compete with the imported foreign ones? Of course, you have to encourage them with incentives so that they can also invest and have returns on their investments,” he said.
Mr Kantum further explained that the move will not contravene the ECOWAS regional protocols, which peg customs external tariffs for vehicles at 20 per cent import duty.
He added that about 70 per cent imported vehicles are already used and about 90 per cent of imported used cars are salvaged.
The Supervisor in charge of Vehicle Valuation Unit of the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), Mr Justice Njornan Magah Yadjayime, also explained that, contrary to popular opinion that there is ambiguity in the definition of salvaged vehicles, the Act has left room for no human discretionary authority beyond what the law stipulates.
“The law is looking at the number of ways vehicles get damaged, so you are looking at flooding, collision etc. So, all have been covered, so that you don’t leave it to anybody’s judgment to say that this one can go and this one will not go, no,” he stressed.
He said importers of vehicles are expected to provide proof that cars being brought in are lawful.
“In our case now, where we are going to have the Automotive Industry, the Ghana Standards Authority is playing a key role where they are going to be looking at other aspects of it, like the certificate of conformance for used cars and homologation certificates for brand new cars, before importers can clear their cars,” Mr Yadjayime explained.
He further underscored the need for importers to weigh in the calibre of vehicles they import into the country.