Ghana loses more than US$3billion annually from export proceeds, a third of the nation’s export value, due to exporters flouting foreign account regulations, Eric Hammond, Head of Banking at the Bank of Ghana (BoG), has said.
People export and they don’t want to repatriate the proceeds, “he said, adding that we have gathered some clients who have failed to repatriate their foreign exchange back into Ghana, so we will call on them to produce evidence of their repatriation receipts.”
Speaking at the GT Bank sponsored Importers and Exporters Seminar in Accra, which came off at the Movenpick Hotel, Mr Hammond stressed that repatriating monies earned from exports is compulsory.
According to Section 15 of the Foreign Exchange Act, exporters who fail to repatriate their export proceeds to Ghana are liable to a fine of five penalty points and they can also be imprisoned for not more than 10yrs.
“Exporters shall ensure repatriation of export proceeds in accordance with the terms of the export, provided that all export proceeds shall be received and repatriated immediately within a period not exceeding 60 days from the day of shipment of goods,” Eric Hammond said.
He added that the BoG is currently going through a list of exporters who don’t comply, and they will soon be arraigned before court, since it is a criminal offence not to repatriate export proceeds.
Black market forex trading
Mr Hammond also cautioned exporters against using the black forex market, saying it is illegal, and that the country needs foreign exchange to develop.
“When exporters need foreign currency for their transactions, the same black market will sell it to them at a very expensive rate, to make up for the difference when they sold it,” he added.
Warning importers too
He also warned importers who use the transit system as a smoke screen in order to avoid the payment of import duties that, “they will soon be arrested.”
He noted that the Pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), a system introduced by the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to process import documents, will help all commercial banks check anomalies in import and export.
He advised exporters to help freight forwarders fill in all forms and not leave every little detail to the freight forwarders since they can inaccurately fill the forms.
Single window concept
Lemmy Kwawu, a Division Officer at customs, explained to participants of the seminar, made up importers, exporters and investors, that the Single Window concept seeks to facilitate trade, and make it more convenient.
It is also to save cost and improve transparency for traders without necessarily diminishing the effectiveness of the state.
He stressed that the Single Window concept will have a central unit where all other institutions like the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and other key stakeholders will lodge standardised information and documentation at a single-entry point.
Lekan Sanusi, Managing Director of GT Bank, noted that the bank believes in adding value to stakeholders at all times, which is why it organised the seminar.
We believe in helping our customers businesses grow because when they do, our bank also grows. We believe in building excellence and superior financial performance and creating role models for society,â€ he said.
George Williams-Anthony, Head of Technology at GT Bank, touched on the several payment platforms the bank has to facilitate trade for its business and individual clients.
We have MasterCard and VISA Card Verified to reduce fraud. We also have real-time notification on transactions. We also have www.myghpay.com, which allows you to send and receive monies abroad, and literally, bank on the go, he said.