CEPS officials meet on Risk Management control

Risk Management approach has been described as the road map to solving the numerous challenges impeding the work of customs officials in detecting fraud and other offences.

Whatever the priority of a customs administration, be it revenue collection, security, drugs or environmental protection, risk management was essential to promote effectiveness while not wasting scarce resources.

Mr George Blankson, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) said these when he opened a four-day regional workshop on the “Vital Role of Risk Management for West and Central Africa” in Accra.

The workshop attended by Customs representatives of the 29 countries involved in the two sub-regions, is aimed at engaging in useful discussions on the role of risk management to Customs work.

Organised by the GRA in collaboration with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and financed by the Customs Cooperation Fund of Japan it is also to contribute to the development of WCO’s Risk Management Compendium which will serve as a guide for the global application of Customs risk management.

Participants are expected to collate best practices through diverse perspectives and experiences from their countries’ perspectives and identify new possibilities for improving or re-engineering existing risk management and internal control regimes for efficiency.

Mr Blankson explained that adopting a risk management approach demanded a total paradigm shift in the thinking and approach to doing business by Customs.

The key components of risk management he said included information technology, intelligence, risk assessment, profiling, selectivity, risk indicators and the availability of data.

Risk management means given the high volume of international trade, Customs control employing analytical tools and processes to determine which persons, goods and means of transport were examined and to what extent.

The Commissioner-General noted that the 21st century Customs environment was saddled with a myriad of challenges with a common characteristic of high volume of international trade transactions and the absolute impossibility of checking all of them.

“Customs already know enough risk management in theory but more work is required to increase knowledge about its implementation”, he added.

He urged participants to discuss and share their national experiences and case studies to help achieve the objectives of the workshop.

Mr Mathew Bannon, officer in Charge of the Capacity Building at the Directorate of WCO, said the Policy Commission and Council had agreed that it was worthwhile consulting member countries through six regional events on the Risk Management Compendium working group drafting exercise.

He said participants would draft an organised risk register and risk management plan with a framework to support front-line risk assessment practices.

Major-General Carl S. Modey, Commissioner Customs Division of GRA noted that Customs officials needed to improve on their overall understanding of the key risks and their wider implications for revenue mobilisation and allow for more informed operational measures and decision making.

“We need to appreciate the fact that at the operational level, internal controls are a part of managing risk whilst internal controls and appropriate risk management policies and procedures also improve the likelihood of achieving stated policy goals and objectives”, he added.

Source: GNA

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