The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been urged to strengthen collaborations with existing stakeholders and also form new partnerships to facilitate global trade and security.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, said partnerships were significant in customs operations across the world, and, therefore, encouraged the division to be proactive by consolidating existing alliances while initiating more collaborations.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the Minister by the Director of Revenue Policy Division of the Finance Ministry, George Swanzy Winful, at an event to commemorate the 2024 International Customs Day in Accra yesterday.
This year’s celebration was themed: “Customs engaging traditional and new partners with purpose”. Each year, customs organizations in the 89 World Customs Organisations (WCO) member countries and their partners, who affect world trade management, come together to celebrate the day which is observed on January 26.
The Minister said the GRA had undertaken trailblazing initiatives and achieved substantial achievements towards an integrated and technologically advanced customs environment. He said the fruitful outcomes stemming from the division’s collaborative efforts with various stakeholders across the customs spectrum was instrumental in driving economic growth.
The Minister also commended them for collaborating with other agencies such as the Ministry of National Security, the Shippers Authority, the Ports and Harbours Authority, the Police Service, the Immigration Service, the Narcotic Control Commission, the Food and Drugs Authority, and the Ghana Standards Authority to secure the borders of the country.
Mr Ofori Atta said it was through such effective cooperation with mutual respect among partner agencies that a secured and conducive environment could be created for the legitimate movement of goods across borders. “Strong relationships with allied institutions will surely lead to desirable outcomes, including securing our borders for effective domestic revenue mobilization drive,” he added. Revenue target
This year, the Minister said the customs division had been tasked to mobilize GH¢41.5 billion to enable the GRA to meet its GH¢146 billion revenue target for 2024. He said the country had the potential to generate 20 per cent tax to GDP, but that it currently collected only 14 per cent. As a measure to reach Ghana’s potential, he said a medium-term revenue strategy 2024 to 2027 was developed and rolled out in September, 2020.
The revenue mobilization targets are based on the measures contained in the strategy. Initiatives Commissioner General of the GRA, Rev. Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Commissioner of Operations, at GRA, Daniel Edisi, said the division had removed some bottlenecks that impeded efficient clearance of goods at the ports and also established a baseline data for measuring trade.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Trade and Industry, K. T. Hammond, the Chief Director of the Ministry, Patrick Yaw Nimo, said enhancing trade and movement of goods across borders was important to the nation’s ambition to transform the back of industrialization.
The Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, Alhaji Iddrisu Iddisah Seidu, who read the speech of the WCO Secretary-General, Ian Saunders, urged members of WCO to embrace cutting-edge technologies and data analytics as enablers of their engagement with partners to increase their responsiveness and effectiveness.
The Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Kwesi Baffour Sarpong, said strengthening partnerships with private and public sectors would enhance businesses.