The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) monitoring teams have recovered more than GH¢86 million for the state within the first five months of their inception.
The teams, which conduct market surveillance for compliance, comprise the Tema team, based at Tema Harbour; Eastern Frontier, based at Dabala in the Volta Region; Western Frontier in Kumasi, Ashanti Region, and the Vehicle Task Force whose operation is nationwide.
Their operation also led to the interception and detention of 273 uncustomed vehicles between the last quarter of 2022 and the end of February 2023.
Speaking to journalists about the initiative in Accra, the Commissioner of Customs of the GRA, Seidu Iddrisu Iddisah, said the recoveries made by the team would contribute to the revenue drive of the state and ensure that the security of the country was intact.
The Customs Division of the GRA came up with the monitoring team initiative to ensure importers pay the right amounts of duty and also to serve as a tool to curtail smuggling across the country.
In October 2022, four monitoring teams were inaugurated to undertake risk-based and intelligence-driven operations across the country.
The teams also arrested some uncustomed goods and carried out other related assignments which involved the interception of substances suspected to be Indian hemp, among others.
According to the Customs Division of the GRA, an assessment of the operations of the teams between October, 2022 and February, 2023 indicated that the teams had significantly impacted on revenue mobilisation.
Giving a breakdown of the amount recovered to the state, Mr Iddisah said the Tema team alone collected GH¢85 million while the Western Frontier team also recovered a total collection of GH₵1.46 million.
The Vehicle Task Force intercepted and detained 193 uncustomed vehicles in the last quarter of 2022 and 80 vehicles between January and February 2023.
Mr Iddisah explained that the monitoring teams served as another layer of security measures put in place by the Authority.
The Commissioner of Customs said the monitoring team was also one of the layers of enforcement as the monitoring teams operate at certain strategic areas to ensure that “if someone is able to dodge from the entry points, these teams will be able to apprehend them for the right amount of duties and customs processes to be done.”
He commended the teams for the successes chalked up, saying since they were “set up towards the latter part of last year to February, Tema team alone has collected over GH¢85 million and seized other goods that did not meet the standards required for the country”.
The Commissioner of Customs said in the operation of the teams there was no room for compromise and cautioned that the team would not compromise on any unethical exercise by any importer or trader against the country’s customs laws.
On the concerns of some team members harassing innocent traders at some of the country’s borders, Mr Addisah admitted that such complaints had been made in the public domain but without any concrete evidence.
“We have always encouraged people to come out with evidence of our team members harassing individuals or any form of corruption so that we can investigate and deal with the officers involved.
Source: Graphic Online