Mr Justice Njornan Magah Yadjayime, a Supervisor at the Vehicle Valuation Unit of the Customs Technical Service Bureau has explained that the high import duties on hybrid vehicles is due to the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET).
Mr Yadjayime noted that member states of ECOWAS adopted the CET in 2015 explaining that it applied to vehicles and goods from non-member states.
Speaking to the media on concerns raised by some importers on the high duty on hybrid vehicles compared to normal ones, he said the duty for hybrid vehicles was currently pegged at 20 per cent of CET.
“ECOWAS established Common External Tariffs of 20 per cent for all vehicles like saloon cars, SUVs and wagons. So you realize that these are the categories the hybrid cars fall within,” he said.
He said for all member countries to avoid the harsh effect of the increment of taxes on the citizenry, in 2015 when the CET was to be implemented, ECOWAS put in a flexibility measure called supplementary tariffs as a measure.
ECOWAS, he said then decided that every member state had the opportunity to adjust gradually the three per cent of its tariffs lines, which Ghana took the opportunity and applied for.
Mr Yadjayime said at that time, government decided to leave out some of the items which were not an issue “because in 2015 we didn’t have an issue with hybrid vehicles coming into the country and people didn’t like them and didn’t know what they were meant for.
“So that is why it stayed at 20 per cent and it is not as if anyone doesn’t see the benefit of hybrid vehicles. Now that there is that opportunity for people to use and know how good it is, there have been discussions on it as to how to go about it. I’m sure with time it will be resolved”.
He encouraged Ghanaians to consider hybrid vehicles because of its positive impact to the environment while entreating clearing agents who disagreed with the value quoted during the valuation of their imported vehicles to reject and appeal against the value immediately.
He said customs officers were assigned to ensure the appeals of the agents were worked on, to facilitate the payment of duties.
Touching on overaged vehicles, he said importing vehicles 10 years from the year of manufacture attracted overage penalties and said “for saloon cars, SUVs, station wagons, if they are beyond 10 to 12 years you pay five per cent of the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF).
“Beyond 12 to 15 years you have to pay 20 per cent of the CIF and beyond 15 to 25 years you pay 50 per cent as penalty. If it is up to 35 years you would have to pay 70 per cent of the CIF as penalty and when it is beyond 35 years you will pay 100 per cent of the CIF”.