Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has officially opened its Customs Technical Services Bureau at a colourful ceremony in Accra.
The bureau handles the re-introduced Classification and Valuation function by the Customs using ICT interface with declarants.
The Commissioner-General of GRA, George Blankson, who was speaking at the inauguration, said even though some challenges were encountered in the early stages of the project, they were surmounted through diligent monitoring.
“We intend to sustain the successes attained so far to improve revenue assessment and collection,” he said.
Mr Blankson said one of the key initiatives is the Pre Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS), which is a dynamic internal control and sustainable risk management platform that provides effective import verification.
He expressed appreciation to the clientèle for the tolerance exhibited while the authority tackled the teething challenges that emerged at the onset of the customs’ takeover of valuation classification and risk management functions from the DICs.
The occasion coincided with the celebration of the annual International Customs Day on the theme: ‘‘Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement.”
The Commissioner-General said the World Customs Organization (WCO) is dedicating the year 2016 to promoting the digitization of customs process by which WCO members will have the opportunity to further promote and showcase the use of ICT.
He pledged to make the business of international trade buoyant by focusing on the use of enhanced technology and Information Communication Technology (ICT). .
Minister for Finance, Seth Terkper, who represented President Mahama, said automation and transformation at Customs Division of the GRA would offer an interface in the revenue mobilization.
He said the introduction of the Single Window is a clear and bold statement of intent by government to address some of the challenges of doing business in Ghana, which is of major concern to both government and the private sector.
“Our commitment is to simplify customs and other border procedures for the efficient clearance of goods for import and export.
“This will thereby speed up the movement of goods across borders, reduce trade transactions and improve predictability in delivery time,” Mr Terpker said.
Valentina Minta, CEO of West Blues Consult, in her remarks, said this year’s WCO theme for the International Customs Day ‘Digital Customs- Progressive Engagement resonates well with Ghana Customs’ collaborative approach adopted for its 2016 reform activities.
“Whereas digitization brings about the benefits of transparency, cost and time reduction and predictability, among others, these cannot be achieved without true collaboration between government and government, business and business and government and business,” she said.
Ms Minta applauded government for taking the bold policy decisions to embark on the National Single Window journey in Ghana.