Dr Mohammed Amim Adam (3rd from right),  Minister of Finance, addressing staff of Customs Division at the Tema Port
Dr Mohammed Amim Adam (3rd from right), Minister of Finance, addressing staff of Customs Division at the Tema Port
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Finance Minister charges GRA Customs to reduce leakages

The Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, has charged the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to put in more efforts to reduce revenue leakages at the entry points.

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He stated that notwithstanding the successes chalked up by the Customs Division, with the Tema Collection alone mobilising 95.03 per cent of its targeted revenue for last year, there was more the GRA and its Customs Division, in particular, could do to further enhance the level of efficiency at the ports.

Dr Adam was speaking at a meeting with the staff of the GRA, Customs Division, at the Tema Port yesterday during a working visit to the port.

He was accompanied by the Minister of State designate at the Ministry of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare, the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Rev. Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, and other Directors of the ministry.  

Dr Adam, who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Karaga, said accelerated national development rested on adequate domestic revenue mobilisation and urged personnel of Customs to continue to help the ministry to realise that ambition by the end of this year.

The Finance Minister said the government had a duty to implement programmes and projects, and also compensate public sector workers, adding that to be able to do so the state must generate enough revenue aside from servicing debts.

Dr Adam said all those components of the budget would not be realised if the state was not able to generate enough revenue, hence domestic revenue mobilisation was his number one priority.

He said given that customs officials were the foot soldiers of the country when it came to revenue mobilisation, a lot would be expected from them in support of national development.

While commending the revenue agencies for their efforts, Dr Adam stated that in spite of the good works they were doing, there were still issues related to smuggling, undervaluation and collusion and urged them to increase efficiency.
 

Reforms

The minister charged the management of GRA to introduce reforms across many fronts relating to ex-warehousing for export, re-export and transit goods to tackle issues of leakages in order to have Suspense Regime, a scheme under which goods are allowed free of duties and taxes, usually for a limited period of time and subject to certain conditions beyond abuse.

Dr Adam said the Ministry of Finance, as part of an extra measure to curb the abuse of the Suspense Regime, had proposed that goods could only leave the warehouse after they secured the approval of the Commissioner of Customs Division and not just the Commanders in charge of the warehouses.

It also required using an efficient technology to check delays and abuse and ensure accountability in the Suspense Regime.

The Finance Minister, whose public life started from the local assembly, bemoaned the loss of revenue to the economy due to smuggling of goods, particularly along the Eastern corridor of the country, and urged the efficient policing of that corridor.

That, he stated, could be done through the collaborative effort of all the security agencies and the border patrol unit of the Customs Division.

Dr Adam said as part of efforts to weed out the bad lots from the service, an enhanced Intelligence Unit would be established to fish them out and redeem the image of the Customs Division.
 

Revenue collection 

For his part, Rev. Dr Owusu-Amoah said for the first quarter of 2024, the Customs Division had grown its revenue collection by 74 per cent over the previous year due to the identification and sealing of leakages in the system.

The Commissioner-General of GRA said that notwithstanding, the authority had intensified its efforts across all units within the GRA to boost revenue mobilisation. 

Challenges

The Commissioner of Customs, Iddrisu Iddisah Seidu, pointed to the inadequate staffing, stressing that the situation had undermined effective and efficient collection and protection of revenue for the country.

He, therefore, appealed for support to address the dwindling staff situation to handle the rising challenge to raise more revenue domestically. 

Commitment

The Tema Sector Commander of Customs, Assistant Commissioner (ACC) Christiana Odi Adjei, said last year the Tema Collection mobilised GH¢24.4 billion out of a target of GH¢25.67 billion, representing 95.03 per cent of the Customs Division’s target for that year.

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She said the division was doing its best in spite of its constraints.  

ACC Adjei, however, pledged the unwavering commitment of the Command to excellence in the implementation of robust policies and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability to meet the demands of the modern global trading environment of facilitating trade, as well as mobilising revenue for the state.
 
Writer’s email: [email protected] 

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