Mr Paul Kwesi Ahiakpor, Assistant Commissioner, Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the Northern Region, has warned importers to desist from smuggling goods because they will be arrested and made to face the necessary sanctions.
He said the GRA had put in place systems help arrest anybody engaging in the smuggling of goods to ensure that the state did not lose revenue.
Mr Ahiakpor gave the warning at a stakeholders’ sensitization forum in Tamale organized by the GRA to educate taxable entities and persons on changes to the tax laws, processes and procedures.
It was to deepen the understanding of stakeholders on the GETFund and National Health Insurance Scheme Levies, Value Added Tax Act, Withholding tax, taxes on imported vehicles amongst others to encourage voluntary compliance in revenue mobilization.
Mr Ahiakpor spoke about interference in the work of revenue administrators in the region where politicians, chiefs and influential people called GRA officials to plead for the release of seized smuggled goods.
He, therefore, warned such influential people in society not to call him to release seized smuggled goods without the offenders paying the necessary duties and penalties since such an act would deprive the state of revenue.
He said because of his uncompromising stance against smuggling and the need for importers to pay the appropriate duties, the Customs Division of the GRA in the region exceeded its revenue target within the past two years.
Mr Ahiakpor urged stakeholders to assist GRA to collect the needed taxes to enable the country to deliver the much-needed social services to the people.
Some of the stakeholders demanded that GRA should decentralize to all districts to make tax payment easy because the cost of travelling to the few GRA offices in the region to pay taxes was sometimes higher than the tax itself.
Alhaji Yahaya Muhammed, Assistant Manager at the Tamale Small Tax Office of GRA, advised taxable entities and persons to post cheques for payment of withholding tax or make them available to GRA staff, who visit their locations to ensure that they paid on time to avoid penalties.
Mr Kwame Adu Kwakye, Principal Revenue Officer at the Tamale Medium Tax Office of GRA, advised taxable entities to keep proper records of their transactions and submit their monthly returns to GRA on time.