Tax expect and Managing Partner of Ali-Nakyea and Associates, Mr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea, has urged the government to fully operationalise the National Single Window and Paperless regime at the country’s seaports.
This, he said, would help the government achieve its ambitious target of GH¢7.42 billion from import duty this year.
“Granted that the National Single Window and Paperless Port System will be put to full operations for the 2019 fiscal year, I am confident that the projected GH¢7.42 billion revenue in import duty will be achieved,” Mr Ali-Nakyea told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in an interview on January 10 in Accra.
Import duty targets
Analysis of the fiscal data of the government between 2017 and the third quarter 2018 showed that the amount of revenue realised from international trade does not meet projected figures.
The government projected to rake in GH¢6.74 billion revenue in import duty in 2017 but made GH¢5.48 billion at the end of the year.
It also estimated to make GH¢6.71 billion last year and made GH¢4.52 billion as of the third quarter of 2018.
This trend, however, forced the government to revise its import duty revenue target down to GH¢6.37 and GH¢6.61 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Keep watch on leakages
Based on the development, Mr Ali-Nakyea observed that the country would not be able to meet its target until it keep a watch on leakages and also strengthen systems at the country’s ports.
“I have consistently predicted that the state would never be able to meet its target if it does not put in place strong measures to address revenue leakages at the ports.
“If the government is projecting a 10.45 per cent increase over the previous figure, I think it all depend on how effective systems will be at the ports, should any leakages continue the state will not be able to make the GH¢7.42 billion it projected,” he said.
He lauded the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for establishing a Canine Unit to beef up its operations, especially at the borders and points of entry where staffing was inadequate.
“Customs under its new Canine Unit have brought in trained dogs to check smuggled and undervalued items,” he said and added that the government needed to strengthen systems at the ports in order for it to exceed its targets.
Asked whether customs have been retooled enough to ensure the 2019 target is attained, Mr Ali-Nakyea said he doubt, but explained that modern customs administration had gone a step higher to risk based assessment and Ghana Customs needed to conform to such modern standards.
He stated that customs needed to organise periodic and consistent training for its officers in order to be abreast of modern trends.
“A lot of automation eliminate the human involvement which goes with someone being compromised hence bribery and corruption at the country’s ports.
“But in another hand, if the person is not trained in managing the system, whatever systems and reforms introduced will not yield any results.
So in this regard, I think we need a periodic and consistent capacity building for our customs officers,” he said.
BY: Maclean Kwofi