John Kumah urges customs Administrators to strengthen trust with stakeholders

John Kumah

Dr John Kumah, a Deputy Minister of Finance, has urged Customs Administrators to strengthen trust with stakeholders to motivate and cultivate a sense of belonging to the work environment.

He said a positive image of an organisation depended largely on its employers and the Ministry was poised to empower and protect all initiatives towards revenue mobilisation.

Dr Kumah was speaking at the commemoration of the International Customs Day Celebration on the theme: “ Nurturing the Next Generation: Promoting a Culture of Knowledge-Sharing and Professional Pride in Customs.”

International Customs Day which was initiated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in 1983 is celebrated on January 26 every year to celebrate all the customs officials and agencies that toil day in and day out to ensure effective world trade management.

He commended the Management of the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Customs Division for exceeding their revenue targets by an appreciable percentage.

The GRA collected a total tax revenue of GH₵75,544.05million for the year 2022 as against a target of GH₵71,948.76million, exceeding the target by GH₵3,595.29million.

The Deputy Minister said this performance represented a nominal growth rate of 31.5 per cent over that of 2021.

He said Customs revenue grew by a nominal growth rate of 38.4 per cent with the collection of GH₵22,258.02million as against a target of GH₵20,202.32 million.

Dr Kumah said he knew a lot of planning, strategizing and hard work, among others, were put in by both Management and Officers of the Customs Division to ensure the attainment of the feat.

He said the 2023 World Customs Celebration theme was in line with the efforts placed on human capital, which is at the heart of the transformative process.

He said in this era of advanced technology, the theme was indeed very apt, knowing that technology could provide vast opportunities to help promote a culture of knowledge sharing and also help increase voluntary compliance.

The Deputy Minister said, “l have no doubt in my mind that the adoption of this culture of knowledge sharing and use of appropriate technology will bring enormous benefits to GRA and to our country.”

He said the 2023 journey had begun in earnest and the GRA’s contribution in navigating the country out of the current economic difficulty could not be overemphasized.

Dr Kumah said the 2023 revenue targets for the Authority was GH₵105,998.73billion and “you must all quickly roll up your sleeves and get to work more resolutely and determined to achieve the target for the year.”

He urged the Management of GRA to deploy the right policies and strategies to ensure that come next year, the country would again celebrate for a job well done.

The Deputy Minister encouraged the Officers to maintain and exhibit the values of professionalism, integrity and excellence in their dealings with both colleagues and customers.

Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, the Commissioner-General, GRA, said the theme was appropriate in this technological era, where knowledge sharing would help to build collective knowledge, find better ways of doing things and most importantly, build an effective learning culture within the Customs Division.

He said knowledge transfer would enhance efficiency gains and greater innovation capacity which Customs had embraced over the years, adding that the Customs Division of GRA “do value and promote a knowledge sharing culture, which “l believe our young Customs Officers will value and retain the talent gained.”

Mr Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, WCO, said the Secretariat was inviting Members to look at how to support newly-recruited officers, facilitate the sharing of knowledge, and heighten the sense of pride in being part of this institution and of the global Customs community.

He said this was about placing human capital, and especially the new generation, at the heart of the transformation of Customs, an approach the WCO had been advocating for a number of years.

He said the approach to learning must be rooted in the culture of the administration, holding true throughout the officers’ careers.

”It requires not only dynamic intergenerational relationships, but also an outward-looking attitude, characterized by exchanges with the actors engaged in the movement of goods and passengers, as well as with service providers and with academia,” he added.

He said another interesting approach was to extend collaboration among Customs stakeholders and collect multi-disciplinary views.

Mr Mikuriya said Customs must avoid the loss of organizational memory, to ensure that mistakes were not repeated and experience was transmitted between departments and to the next generation.

“By creating a stimulating work environment and offering learning opportunities to their officers, Customs administrations can not only attract and retain talent, but also enhance their officers’ sense of professional pride,” he said.

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