The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the Upper East Region has improved its revenue mobilization, making almost GH¢14 million in the first 10 months of 2021 as against GH¢12.2 million cedis in the year 2020.
This was made possible by the use of an improved technology, an electronic tool called the Integrated Communication Operations Management Systems (ICOMS), which has been deployed to all the stations in the Region.
The Regional Commander of the Customs Division, Mr Samuel Owusu, a Chief Revenue Officer, made these known in Bolgatanga in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the presentation of preventive and hygiene materials to some deprived basic schools in the region.
Mr Owusu explained that with the slow pace of the previous technologies, Ghana Community Network Services (GcNet) and the Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), coupled with the devastating effects of the COVID-19, there was the need for stringent measures to be put in place to improve performance.
He said the ICOMS was not expensive and had helped to resolve the bottlenecks his outfit used to have when it used the GcNet and GCNS and had further improved the automation systems, leading to a reduction in the cost of doing businesses, improved the organization’s general performance and improved revenue collection.
“The ICOMS has come to replace the GcNet and the GCNS because it is superior and it has led to the speeding up of processes and procedures in the clearance of goods at the ports and the borders, it has also reduced the cost of doing business because with the ICOMS you are able to initiate the process of clearance before the goods come and it prevents other expenses such as rent,” he said.
He said the 2021 revenue collection target for the region was GH¢19.2 million and said his outfit would continue to leverage on advanced technological mechanisms to increase revenue mobilization.
Mr Owusu disclosed that apart from the closure of the borders due to COVID-19, their porous nature was aiding people to evade tax and as a result, some snap checkups were often conducted and defaulters arrested and fined.
“The issue of unapproved routes is of one of the challenges we are facing as a region that has so many borders and the borders are very porous and vast but we have been able to identify 29 unapproved routes and map out strategies to man them properly so that the revenue leakages would come down,” he added.
The Customs Division presented 40 veronica buckets, 40 gallons of liquid soap, and 40 packs of tissue paper to the deprived schools and urged the management of the beneficiary schools to ensure that the pupils adhered to the COVID-19 protocols to help fight the virus.
Miss Georgina Bugase, the Headteacher of Paga R/C Primary School in the Kassena-Nankana West District on behalf of the beneficiary schools thanked the Customs Division for the support and assured them that the preventive items would be put to good use.