Commissioner of Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Col. Kwadwo Damoah has revealed that the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority was in the year 2020 able to exceed its revenue target which is the first time of achieving such a feat since 2017.
Speaking on Eye on Port, Col. Kwadwo Damoah, indicated that the Finance Minister of Ghana, originally allotted GH¢13.3 billion of the overall revenue collection target of GH¢47.25 billion revenue expectation of the Ghana Revenue Authority for the Customs Division, but later revised the figures to GH¢10.9 billion due to the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Customs was however able to collect GH¢12.3 billion revenue in 2020, which exceeded the expected GH¢10.9 billion revised target.
He said GRA as a whole also collected GH¢45 billion of the revised GH¢42.3 billion targets in spite of the hardships caused by the COVID-19.
“Naturally our expectation of going beyond the GH¢47 billion did not materialize. But if you take into account the greater part of the year, COVID had its devastating toll on us, and we still managed to get so close to the original and even more than our revised target, then it means GRA as a whole, and Customs did very well,” he asserted
He said Customs seeks to leverage on strengthened strong cross-sector collaborations, increased skill exchange, and capacity building to position itself for a sustainable supply chain, which would go a long way to help them contribute to achieving the ambitious GH¢60 billion target GRA has set for itself in 2021.
The Commissioner attributed this feat to strong collaborations with the local private sector as well as the exchange of information with other customs administrations to surmount the hurdles created by the pandemic.
He indicated that with the necessary interventions made, as well as the help of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), from May 2020, Customs began exceeding the monthly GH¢1 billion targets but could not compensate for the losses made for the period between Feb and May.
“When we got to September-October, we realized that continuously from May, we were always exceeding the I billion mark and we tried as much as possible to push to meet the original GH¢13.3 billion targets,” he disclosed.
Col. Damoah praised the unified efforts of statutory agencies working in the clearance chain, the freight forwarding fraternity, and the trading public for working together to see to the successful implementation of the ICUMS at ports and all frontiers in the country.
He said prior to the COVID-19, the GRA has set an ambitious target of GH¢55 billion, which is some GH¢7 billion in excess of the initial target, and the Revenue Authority was en route to achieving that until the pandemic reared its ugly head.
“On our own, not knowing that COVID would come and take its toll on us, we had challenged ourselves that in 2020 we were going to collect GH¢55 billion even though the Government had given us GH¢47.25 billion,” he revealed.
The Commissioner explained that, with businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and import volumes reduced, revenue mobilization was bound to be affected and both officers of Customs and Staff of GRA ought to be applauded for standing up to the challenge in ensuring that the nation secured its needed revenue targeted and even arguably exceeding them.