The Traders Advocacy Group Ghana (TAGG) says raising GH¢181.5 million through the monitoring activities of a taskforce is an indictment on the operations of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and custom systems at the ports.
Following a disclosure by the Authority in a September 22, 2023, press statement that a monitoring taskforce was established at four places to curtail smuggling, under declaration, misdescription and concealment of goods, the Group said Ghanaians must be worried about the revenue that had eluded the Authority over the past years.
“We would like to ask the Commissioner General and Commissioner Customs if indeed all these containers were able to evade notices and leave the port only to be arrested later?
“The government has spent large sums of money developing customs division systems to ensure due diligence before a container is cleared and so, for such containers to leave the port before monitoring teams track them outside the port for revenue realisation, then Mother Ghana is in serious trouble,” said Mr Emmanuel Nana Opoku Acheampong, General Secretary of TAGG at a press conference.
According to the GRA, the Monitoring Taskforces had significantly impacted on revenue mobilisation between October 2022 and August 2023, which totalled GH¢181.5 million.
“The Tema Team recovered a total short collection of GH¢153.8 million; the Eastern Frontier Monitoring Team also recovered a total short collection of GH¢4.7 million; the Western Frontier Team recovered a total short collection of GH¢1.1 million and the Vehicle Taskforce (Nationwide) also recovered a total short collection of GH¢21.9 million,” it said in its statement.
The General Secretary of TAGG said it was unfortunate that the GRA was allegedly misleading the public into believing that the traders did not follow tax regulations and engaged in unlawful activities such as smuggling, under declaration, misdescription and concealment and asked the Authority to acknowledge and investigate issues of extortion and bribery levelled against some members of the Taskforce.
According to the trader Group, extortion and harassment of traders was rife among members of a taskforce put up by the Customs Division of the GRA and asked the Authority to address that.