Upper East Customs says it rakes in over GH¢17m in 2021

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Upper East Region collected an amount of GH¢17.3 million, representing 90 per cent of its target in 2021 and the highest in the region since its inception.

Chief Revenue Officer, Mr Samuel Owusu, the Upper East Regional Commander, Customs Division, said although, it could not meet the GH¢19.3 million target set for the year, it was more than the GH¢12 million collected in 2020.

Additionally, about 50 vehicles mostly of Opel Zafira, valued over GH¢1 million (when auctioned) were arrested and stored at the State Warehouse at Zuarungu, Bolgatanga East District.

He attributed the impressive performance to the deployment of Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), an improved electronic technology at all its stations that facilitated trade and addressed leakages at the collection points.

Mr Owusu, who made these known to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Bolgatanga blamed the Bawku Chieftaincy conflict that reemerged at the latter part of 2021 as the major reason for not meeting the target.

He said the Division had four collection points at the Bawku enclave and all were affected by the conflict as movement of goods across those borders came to a standstill and adversely affected the amount of money realised.

“We would have done better but for the crisis that started at Bawku because we have four stations in that enclave at Kulungugu, Pulmakom, Misiga and Mognori.

“We all know that November and December are the periods for peak revenue mobilisation and collection but unfortunately, those two months were the periods in which the crisis in Bawku were at its highest and it really accounted for our inability to hit the target,” he said.

Mr Owusu said apart from the use of the ICUMS that fast-tracked the processing of consignments and addressed some leakages at all stations in the region, the Division mapped out strategies including effective monitoring and patrol especially at some identified unapproved routes which yielded positive results.

The Regional Commander explained that delay in processing of goods at the border had been some of the complaints from importers as reasons for attempts to dodge tax obligations and reiterated the commitment of the Division to introduce electronic payment of tax including Ghana.gov and Mobile Money to enhance compliance and facilitate trade.

He said some new unapproved routes had also been identified and would be monitored and patrolled to ensure that people did not sneak goods into the country without honouring the necessary taxes.

He underscored the need for public cooperation and noted that tax payment campaign would be intensified to make them appreciate the significance of hounouring their tax obligations.

Source: GNA

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