The Commissioner of Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Col. Rtd. Kwadwo Damoah, has revealed that revenue leakages prevented the Division from raising more revenue in 2020.
According to him, once borders are appropriately secured it will discourage smuggling of goods into the country. Mr. Damoah further revealed that the Customs Division would have achieved its target if the issue was addressed.
“Once one person smuggles any item, that’s a leakage and we all know that the borders are so porous such that there are places that are not accessible by way of using vehicles. There are places that you use mono bicycles, there are places that people by foot are able to evade the system, so all those would impact. So, once you are talking about total, total means by land, sea and air. So even [if] there is one leakage by land, it affects the total possibility”.
Regarding meeting the 2021 target, Mr. Damoah explained that, “if everything should work as the system has it, then all may not be lost”.
Additionally, he averred that an effective post clearance audit last year would have raked in more revenue for the Division.
“It may not be possible to have effective post clearance audit with all transactions within a financial year… so [if] any audit goes into 2020, it means casting your mind back [to] 2020. [We] could have had more if we had been able to do the post clearance audit within 2020.”
Suspension of audit activities
Commenting on the audit activities of his unit, Mr Damoah revealed that most of the audit activities was suspended. He explained that GRA had to subscribe to a manual post clearance audit due to Covid-19.
“Last year because of Covid-19, we had to suspend a lot of audit activities because it meant that sending teams. Because the aim was as much as possible to use electronic means to do things, we were not able to [do] a lot of the physical post clearance audit.
“It had to be virtual using the same document that we used to clear the goods. So, if we’re not able to have the opportunity to clear physically to check and compare with what we have by way of documentation; then we still risk not realising the maximum revenue from these transactions”.
Inspection of goods obstructed
Touching on the inspection of goods at the Kotoka International Airport, Mr. Damoah disclosed that the National Security prevented them from carrying out their inspections.
Contending their position, he noted that the law of customs does not give the National Security the right to put a spoke in examining of goods.
Moreover, Mr. Damoah maintained that customs have the legal right to inspect goods coming into the country.
“If you look at the customs act, we also have the responsibility of looking at things that are of security implication. If you are bringing in goods, are they goods that the law permits you to bring them in. For instance, if they are weapons, that is security implication, if you are bringing in food are they the type the appropriate state institution like Food and Drugs Authority permits us?
“The other institution does not have the mandated expertise to ask people to pay duties”.
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