President Mahama asks customs bosses to improve transit trade
President John Dramani Mahama on Thursday asked the Director-General of Customs in the sub-region to seek innovative ways to improve transit trade and the free movement of people across frontiers.
He said customs officials must be able to play their role of trade facilitation without compromising revenue and national security.
“Customs is always at the cutting edge of trade facilitation efforts by ensuring seamless flow of goods and people across our borders. These efforts are aimed at reducing the transaction cost of business and improving investment opportunities,”President Mahama said.
The President said this in a speech read for him at the opening session of the 18th Conference of Directors-General of Customs Administration for the World Customs Organisation West and Central Africa Region in Accra.
The two-day conference is on the theme: “Innovations in Customs, A Catalyst for Regional Capacity Building.”
President Mahama called for enhanced regulatory cooperation among customs administrations in the sub-region to enhance trade facilitation and revenue mobilizations.
On support for the Ghana Revenue Authority, the President said government would provide the necessary resources to ensure that it derived the benefits of integration and modernization of the Authority.
The Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr George Blankson, said the GRA and government would continue to pursue further modernization initiatives in line with global demands and expectation of the business community.
Ghana will also meet its regional obligations involving various protocols on trade liberalization and other technical issues such as the Common External Tariff.
Mr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary-General World Customs Organisation, said Accra’s meeting would explore ways to facilitate trade, protect society from the inflow and outflow of hazardous goods and enhanced revenue collection.
Dikko Inde Abdullahi, Vice Chair of the World Customs Organisation Region of West and central Africa, said Customs Administrations in the two regions were faced with the challenges of proliferation of small arms, smuggling in arms and ammunition, drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and trafficking in humans.
He said to deal with the challenges, Customs needed support, cooperation and funding of governments in the region.