The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has taken export repatriation law enforcement to the next level by involving the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
The move aims to help the central bank deal with exporters who flout article 15 of the 2006 Foreign Exchange Law, Law 723, which concerns export activities and repatriation.
In accordance with the Law, exporters are expected to repatriate the proceeds of merchandise exports in accordance with the Letter of Commitment (LOC) regime.
The deputy director in charge of foreign banking at the BoG, Mr. Eric Kweku Hammond, who informed the Greater Accra Regional Shippers Committee (GARSC) in Accra on June 16, urged exporters to strictly adhere to the law so as not to be prosecuted.
“The LOC is a document required to accompany each export of goods leaving the country. Thus, the letter of credit is a commitment on the part of the exporter to guarantee that the proceeds of the goods shipped will be repatriated in accordance with the law.
“So today’s forum is to address issues affecting the operationalization of the LOC regime. This forum was therefore organized to build the capacities of these exporters so that they are able to understand the issues related to the LOC ”, he declared.
He explained that the LOC was a mandatory requirement for all exports out of the country.
According to him, exporters who do not repatriate the products through an external bank violate Law 723 and are liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of not more than five thousand penalty units or up to ten years’ imprisonment or both.
“The Letter of Commitment is a module of the UNIPASS portal, developed and deployed for the Bank of Ghana. All export-related activities are captured to ensure effective export tracking and repatriation of export earnings.
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Under the LOC regime, the Deputy Director argued that recalcitrant shippers were often barred from undertaking any export activity in the country.
“The backbone of the regime is the foreign exchange law implemented by the BoG and therefore because the system has been automated, recalcitrant exporters are periodically blocked.
“Once an exporter is locked in, it will be difficult for them to start exporting business in the country using the shipping procedures.
“A list of these exporters is then prepared weekly and forwarded to security agencies, especially CID, for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.
Mr Hammond noted that the scheme was designed to deal with trade balances, often caused by the country’s huge imports.
“We need exporters to repatriate their revenues so that there is enough foreign exchange to pay for our huge imports.
“The local currency is not a currency of exchange, reserve or convertible and therefore, we export to generate the foreign currencies necessary to support the local currency,” he said.
Naa Densua Aryeetey, head of shippers’ services and trade facilitation at the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), said GARSC is one of the authority’s ten regional shippers’ committees that meet quarterly. to discuss the problems of the transportation and logistics industry and find solutions. .
She said committee members have been briefed on letters of credit and letters of commitment.
“This meeting was the 112th edition.