Benchmark system is an internal risk assessment tool – Customs

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The Customs Division of the (GRA) has stated that the benchmark system is an internal risk assessment tool rather than a valuation method as perceived by the public.

Mr Bilson Jahdab Atagbah, a Principal Revenue Officer at the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB), said on a 's media forum.

Mr Atagbah said the benchmark was used administratively to detect over and under-invoicing, as well as check commercial and procurement fraud.

He said it was used to align and sanitize their database and served as a guide or yardstick as the Risk Management Unit used it to see the deviation of a particular product's values.

It aims to get the true reflection of the international price.

He explained that the benchmark values were arrived at through intelligence gathered from the Tax Pre-Paid method, the letters of commitment, and stakeholder engagements with industry and high-level integrity institutions.

“It only serves as a guide for what we do, to ensure no one is giving a value too low or too high than they are required for the purposes of tax extraction,” he said.

He explained that “if you end up paying so much, you are over-invoicing, and we must detect how you are doing that.

“Over-invoicing is affecting your total profit because the more cost you have, reduces your profit margin therefore domestic tax payment will reduce which means the domestic unit will not have much tax to collect.”

Mr Atagbah added that the benchmark system which had been used as a guide in customs valuation was no more being used due to the massive misconception it had created within the trading community especially, during the communication of the discount policy government applied to duties in 2019.

He stated that the 50 per cent and 30 per cent discounts traders enjoyed on general goods and vehicles respectively were applicable to the duties payable and not unit values.

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