Line managers and operatives of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Saturday met at a day’s Workshop to identify and adopt measures to help shore up declining customs revenue.
Discussions focused on how to limit revenue leakages associated with reliefs and exemptions, ways to improve controls in the warehousing and free zones regimes to curb abuse, the transit regime and documentation processing and procedures for clearing goods for home consumption.
Revenue from the Customs Division, the largest contributor of the operational arms of the GRA, had dipped nearly 10 percent below target in the first six months of the year.
Mr George Blankson, Commissioner-General of the GRA, said the Workshop would outline specific and measureable actions to be implemented in the short to medium terms to reverse the falling revenue trends.
Mr Blankson said overall revenue performance by the various divisions exceeded the target for the first half of this year, adding that the prospects were bright for the remaining half of 2010 as every effort was being made to halt the downward trend in customs revenue.
“The general trend is that the second half of the year is always better in terms of revenue collections and we are looking at plugging the loopholes to ensure that we rake in as much as we can,” he said.
On leakages associated with reliefs and exemptions, Mr Blankson said the GRA had made proposals for policy and legislative reviews to narrow the scope of items in the exemption list in a move to broaden the tax base.
Mr Seth Tekper, Deputy Minister Finance and Economic Planning, said government needed to mobilize as much revenue to enable it to deliver on its social programmes to improve living standards.
He said the meeting was also an opportunity to get the views of the line managers on various issues affecting revenue moblisation to be considered in the formulation of the 2011 budget.
Mr Tekper said the measures to be outlined would inform policy and implementations strategies to enhance efficiency in tax collections and limit the extent of evasion.
Mr Charles Sablah, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Customs Division, said efforts would be made to block the leakages, such as theft, diversion and fraudulent releases in the warehousing and Free zones regimes.