The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and his Deputy Kwaku Kwarteng stormed the Port of Tema and the customs long room in particular, to send a clear signal to senior management of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, that government will do all in its power to stop any form of revenue leakages even if it means declaring war on unscrupulous officers who collude with freight forwarders and importers to deny the state of its needed due revenue.
“We came to customs to have a discussion with the senior management and tell them how serious it is with regards to revenue mobilization and also our preparedness to back them and their own complexities in ensuring that we get the revenue that we want to come up with,” he stated.
The Finance Minister, emphasized that, the Government of Ghana, is very keen on raking all due revenue for national development, and has targeted to fulfil that obligation by leveraging the Ghana Revenue Authority.
“What that means is that people, who are misclassifying have been going free. And that is worrying and if you are not prepared to do your work well, then maybe we should shift you to somewhere else. I think there is a need for people to know there will be accountability for what they do,” he charged.
He revealed though, that so far, the Domestic Tax Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has improved upon its target, but the Customs Division of GRA, are still achieving below its target.
“The Domestic Tax Division are performing 35% above their target and Customs is about 10% below. So, clearly there needs to be a focus on their part,” the Minister said.
The Finance Minister indicated that, as the parent ministry of GRA, it is taking up initiatives to reform in order to find innovative ways to mobilizing revenue for the state.
He said one of such measures include the appointment of commissioners who are for the first time, chosen from outside the Authority.
According to him, this represents a newness in approach to doing things in the sector.
“The expectation is that things will be done differently and with much more innovation and there would be no sacred cows.”
He emphasized the seriousness of the Ministry to provide all the needed support to make sure revenue mobilisation objectives are a success, especially by taking advantage of the projected efficiency expected from the new terminal 3, which is the expanded Tema Port.
Touching on the directive to reduce import duties of general goods by 50%, and vehicles by 30%, Ken Ofori Atta disclosed that, the initiative was to register in the minds of traders and port users that Ghana’s port is affordable and efficient.
According to him, the new port expansion project would elevate Ghana’s status as an efficient port.
“We sought to register in a client’s mind that Ghana is going to be the most efficient and cheapest entry point and the expectation is that, it will result in increased volumes. Also, the coming of MPS which will be soon-having the deepest berth between here and Cape Town, we are going to see a change in the shipping lines network,” he projected.