Customs staff decries hazardous working conditions
They have also expressed unhappiness about the extent of political involvement in the activities of the Division as it greatly affected their work and was depriving the nation of a chunk of revenue.
They have therefore appealed to Management and the Government to as a matter of urgency address their concerns for effective and efficient revenue collection for enhanced revenue mobilisation for the country.
Mr Boniface Owusu, National Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, Customs, expressed these concerns during the opening of a special joint National Delegates Conference, of the Senior and Junior Staff Association of the Customs Division of GRA.
The five-day conference was on the theme: “The responsibilities of the Customs Officer vis-à-vis his working conditions.”
Mr Owusu said the predicaments of customs officers were worst for those in the hinterlands and along the country’s borders.
He said sometimes they were compelled to sleep under sheds in the course of duty, a situation that demotivated them.
Another issue he noted was the rampant leakages in revenue caused by negligence, recklessness and misconduct by some officers and called on Management to deal accordingly with officers found culpable.
Mr Owusu urged his colleagues to expose miscreants who wanted to satisfy their selfish interests.
He encouraged them to work assiduously despite the numerous challenges to achieve the set targets for the year.
Mr Ken Ofori Atta, the Minister of Finance, in a speech read on his behalf, tasked the officers to exhibit professionalism and integrity in the performance of their work and ensure that all leakages to revenue collection were blocked to generate the needed funds for the nation.
He entreated them to devise innovative ways to increase revenue.
Mr Ofori Atta noted that the conduct of some officers was an embarrassment to the Service and charged the new Commissioner General and his management team to be firm to salvage the image of the service.
Mr Kofi Nti, the new Commissioner General of GRA, admonished the officers to eschew corrupt practices in the performance of their duties.
He described as unfortunate the numerous legal suits against the Customs Division by some staff and pleaded with all parties to the various suits to withdraw them, where possible, and use internal mechanisms to settle them.
Madam Christina Akoto-Bamfo, Deputy Commissioner, Warehousing, Free Zone and ECOWAS, said it was imperative for the Division to continue to exercise site responsibilities without fear or favour in order to remain relevant in the 21st century.
She therefore called for a transformational and visionary leadership at all levels together with effective and dynamic teams who were committed, passionate and with integrity to promote excellence.