The newly established four monitoring teams of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have recovered more than GH¢85million in revenue owed to the state within the first five months of operations.
The teams, which have been divided into different operational areas, seek to retrieve revenues which typically elude the GRA. By targetting hard to get revenues, the four have contributed significantly to revenue mobilisation with GH¢85million between October 2022 and February 2023, says the Customs Division of the GRA.
The four teams, namely: Eastern Frontier – based at Dabala, Western Frontier – based in Kumasi, Tema, and the Vehicle Taskforce – which is nationwide, also seized some uncustomed goods and carried out other related assignments which involve the interception of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, among other contraband goods.
The four teams were inaugurated in October, 2022 to undertake risk-based and intelligence-driven operations at strategic places across the country.
According to the division, it has put in place these monitoring teams to ensure that correct amounts of duty are paid by importers, and also as a tool to curtail smuggling across the country.
Speaking to journalists about the development, Commissioner of Customs Alhaji Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah said the teams will not compromise on any unethical activity by any importer or trader.
He stated that the recoveries made will go a long way to improve on revenue mobilisation and ensure that the security of the country is intact.
“Customs is supposed to be at all the entry points to ensure that goods that come into the country meet the security and health needs of the people. The country has laws to deal with the importation of items as well as the payment of right duties to the state, which is used as an economic tool.
“We have layers of enforcement and one of them is the establishment of the monitoring teams that operate at certain strategic areas to ensure that if one is able to dodge from the entry points, these teams will be able to apprehend them for the right amount of duties and customs processes to be done,” he said.
He added that the teams have been very successful since inception at the latter part of last year by collecting over GH¢85million, mainly from Tema. Other goods have also been seized for failing to meet required standards.
Touching on concerns that some team members have been harassing innocent traders at some of the country’s borders, the commissioner said: “We have always encouraged people to come out with evidence of our team members harassing individuals or any form of corruption, so that we can investigate and deal with the officers involved. We have code of ethics and conducts and when it is breached, the necessary sanctions are applied accordingly”.
Mr. Iddisah urged the general public to cooperate with the monitoring teams to ensure the right taxes due the state are paid.
So far, the Western Frontier Team has recovered a total revenue of GH¢1,466,797. The Vehicle Taskforce intercepted and detained 193 uncustomed vehicles in the last quarter of 2022 and 80 vehicles between January and February 2023.