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Finance Minister charges GRA, security agencies to wage war against smugglers


Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Finance Minister, has charged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to work collaboratively with various security agencies to tackle smuggling of goods into the country.

He also asked the revenue mobilisation agencies to work together to urgently harmonise digital systems for revenue generation to ensure that the country gained more revenue through efficient revenue administration systems. 

The Minister made this call during his working visit to the Tema Collection of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) on Monday, March 25.

Last year, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, the Vice President, disclosed that Ghana lost an estimated US$100 million on annual basis because of corrupt practices at the country’s seaports.

Addressing the concerns of workers at the Tema Port, Dr Amin Adam noted that, it had become important for revenue mobilisation institutions to tap into the strength of each other and increase working relations with securi
ty agencies.

‘I have received information that there are some goods that are not accounted for, and I have been discussing with the Commissioner-General on how we can resolve this,’ Dr Amin Adam said.

He indicated that it had become necessary for measures to be enhanced so that accountability within the system improved to yield more revenue for government to build more infrastructure, pay public sector workers, and service debts.

‘I can understand that staff levels are lower, therefore, there’s the need to beef up the staff, but there are other security agencies that we can work with to complement the staffing level in order for us to launch war on all those who are involved in smuggling, particularly on the Eastern Corridor road, and across the borders of the country.’

He said the government through the Ministry of Finance, would hold a meeting with all the security agencies and GRA to come up with a taskforce that would spearhead the fight against smuggling.

The taskforce, the Minister said would work
with all border patrol teams and be provided with the needed resources to ensure proper monitoring of goods entering the country.

On the need to synchronise revenue mobilisation systems, Dr Amin Amed said it had been observed that about 19 separate digital systems, which were not interacting with each other had been used in revenue collection.

Such a situation, Dr Amin Adam said, was impeding the country’s revenue optimisation efforts, hence, the need to urgently work together to harmonise the digital systems. 

Assistant Commissioner, Christiana Odi Adjei, Sector Commander, Customs Division, GRA, underscored the importance of collaboration, saying that it had been the bedrock of their success story, leading to reaching 95 per cent of revenue target in 2023.

‘It is important to emphasise that the success of our ports and customs operations is not solely reliant on individual efforts, rather thrives on collaboration and synergy between various stakeholders, including government agencies, port authorities, s
hipping lines, freight forwarders, and the business community,’ she said.

She noted that though they were faced with challenges, the Tema Collection continued to deliver excellence in revenue mobilisation.

‘We are dedicated to implementing 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,’ Assistant Commissioner Adjei said.

Source: Ghana News Agency