The Ministry of Finance has indicated that, the First-Port-of-Call Rule, an arrangement that allows customs officials from neighbouring landlocked countries to set up desks at Ghana’s Ports to collect taxes on transit goods, will become operational on 1st March .
Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng, who announced this at this year’s World Customs Day, in Accra, urged the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, to police the tracking devices mounted on vehicles that convey transit imported goods.
Mr Kwarteng, said the theme for the celebration was apt since it reminds Customs officers on the need to ensure diligence, honesty, integrity and strict adherence to the rules and regulations governing the movement of goods, persons and sevices from one country to another.
Mr. Kwarteng lauded the GRA’s directive which ensures that free zone operators pay the required import duties on goods meant for free zone shops and later apply for refund. He added “that the tendency of curbing the nefarious activities that have bedevilled the Authority in recent times. ”
Mr. Kwarteng entreated importers to comply with international trade laws, while urging Customs officials to remain loyal to the country by working hard to help enhance revenue mobilization.
“The failure of the Customs Division to live up to expectation in it’s revenue mobilisation efforts is of serious concern to us because of it’s negative implications for the development of the country.” He intimated.
The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Kofi Nti also emphasized the need for the Customs Service to work together with other border agencies to facilitate standardised and harmonized border procedures.
Mr. Nti said there is an urgency to enhance operations at the country’s borders. This he said necessitated the setting aside of the day by the World Customs Organization, to discuss ways to improve swift and smooth cross-border movement.
Policies such as the pre-Arrival Assessment Reporting System, establishment of Customs Technical Services Bureau and the Cargo Tracking Note, he intimated are all aimed at facilitating smooth trade across borders.
As part of the celebration, the World Customs Organization, certificates were presented to some institutions and customs officers whose hard work and sterling performance contributed to a successful customs operations last year.
Story by: Maryam Hassan