PATEL
The Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia

+231777954899
office@patel-union.org

Monrovia, Liberia – After over 3 weeks of engagements with the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).  The Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) which represent the Liberian business community reach a common ground with the LRA after a 3 hours meeting held at the office of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA). For the pasted three weeks over 41 containers of goods imported to the country was grounded due to very high customs duties, taxes and fees charged by the Liberia Revenue Authority on grounds that most of the products imported by Liberian businesses had limited custom documentation. The duties and taxes charged on 40-foot container with similar goods when from 8,980USD to 21,000USD.

This action by the LRA to the Liberian business community trigger series of meetings with PATEL and other stake holders including the Customs Brokers Association, Paynesville Business Association, Liberia marketing association, Plastic Dishes Sellers Association etc.

The meeting which lasted for 3 hours was centered on the following;

  • It was established in the meeting that 90% of Liberians importers who imports from China often buy their goods from multiple vendors in smaller chunk which they often don’t transact with receipts/invoices. In most cases because Liberians are up to 30 persons on a 40-foot container it is often difficult to get a single parking list for the entire container. As usual John, Peter and Mary know what he/she pays for and or got on board.
  • Most of Liberian importers buy their goods in the streets and from local retail and wholesale sellers across China with huge price variation which in most cases is completely far from custom reference price often found on www.alibaba.com and www.made-in-china.com.
  • Most Liberian businesses stop doing the Preshipment Inspection or PSI because customs/LRA stop honoring the BIVAC report on 99.99% of shipments from China. Because the government compels nearly everyone from China to do destination inspection or DI most Liberians stop doing Preshipment Inspection as it was a waste of time and money.  It can be record that the issue of PSI and IPD was some of the changes PATEL advocated for in 2017.
  • That customs-the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is still using the Brussels Definition of Value- a method which the customs officer at the port of entry determine the imported goods value from the country of origin ignoring the invoice value presented by the importer  or consignee. However LRA justification is they only implement the law and don’t make the law.

The meeting well attended by various market heads, officials and members of PATEL and other trade unions in the country reach a conclusion as follows:

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and PATEL (Liberian business community/importers) agreed that all those Liberian consignees with inadequate documentation for proper custom declarations has two options

  1. That customs/LRA will apply current rate of similar/like items from other importers to the grounded shipments and that consignees can start the clearing process immediately and get their commodities out for business;
  2. The consignee is free to request full custom documentation from china to make proper declaration but consignee will be responsible for storage cost under option two.

Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) announces that it will also allow Liberian businesses to pay custom duties in installments thereby alleviating difficulties Liberian businesses experience. However, the LRA commissioner general Mrs. Tamba said Liberian businesses can make part payments and take portion of their goods that they can sell and come clear the balance of their goods later.

Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) agreed that though the Brussels definition of value is the old method but said a new tax code with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) system adapted by WTO nations is before the house pending passage into law at which time the LRA will start to implement the new system.

The LRA and The Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia (PATEL) also agreed to collaborate in an effort to create awareness in the business community about the customs systems and processes of declaration and clearing of shipments.

PATEL national chairman Mr. Dominic Nimely thanked that LRA family and for the audience and promised to work with LRA to help inform the business community.

Comments are closed.