President John Evans Atta Mills, on Tuesday paid a surprise visit to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority office in Tema Port and commended the officials for enhancing revenue collection.
The visit was a follow up of his last February tour, which followed the publication of a footage of underhand dealings in revenue collection at the Port by Investigative Journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Revenue at the Port has shot up to GH¢ 87 million, representing 12.7 per cent above target.
“I’m here to commend you for your operations that have led to the increase in the collection of revenue,” President Mills said, when he met with the Commissioner of Customs, Major General Carl Mordey, and other top officials of the Service.
President Mills observed that Government had been vindicated on its position that more could be done to improve revenue mobilisation.
“Being here is for us to see how we can reach higher heights. You (Customs Officials) have really justified the confidence we have in you,” President Mills said.
President Mills praised the Service for changing the way of doing things that ensured the increases in revenue mobilisation.
“Your improve operations showed there were things that should be done that were not done, and things that should not be done that were being done.”
President Mills reminded officers of the Service to do all that was necessary maximise revenue mobilisation.
On a request by the Customs Commissioner for Government for more motivation of the personnel of the Service and to increase the three per cent retention rate of revenue collected to care, especially for capital development needs of the Service, President Mills agreed, but stressed the need for better revenue collection so that they would have enough within the percentage for capital development and to care for other needs.
Addressing a larger assembly of the officials later, President Mills said: “We are watching you with keen eyes.”
President Mills said there would be a shift from indirect taxes to direct taxes as the economy developed further.
Gen Mordey said improvement in the operations of the Service involved better monitoring, automation, better complaints system and improved client services.
He said volume of imports, especially during the last Easter season was enhanced while the Service dissolved and combined all task forces into one for more efficient operations.