GRA must seal revenue loopholes with tight systems—GIFF boss

February 16, 2017
Source: Patrick PAINTSIL/thebftonline.com/Ghana
GRA must seal revenue loopholes with tight systems—GIFF boss

Blocking the various loopholes for revenue leakages at the ports would require a high level of tight cooperation between the major IT service providers engaged in the classification, valuation, computation and the transmission processes, President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah, has indicated.

He told the B&FT in an interview: “There are loopholes in the system that people are taking evil advantage of; and clearly it could take only a certain level of cabal in place to keep exploiting such frailties in the system.

Interestingly however, operators of the two Customs systems—GCNet and West Blue Consulting—have sighted these loopholes for which they have been contracted to plug long ago.

 The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), as the primary beneficiary of these ICT solutions, must be able to stamp its feet down to demand the levels of collaboration among the service providers for optimum delivery.”

According to the GIFF boss, these two major ICT companies--the Ghana Community Network (GCNET) and Westblue Consulting must be persuaded to work more closely.

“The current levels of the conversation, which still seeks to shift blame to the freight forwarder, is just not on because the errors which are being unearthed are the kinds that do not require the NASA type level of sophistication in algorithm to check; the systems are just not talking to themselves well, and that must be addressed”  

He added: “Operators of the two customs systems are all private sector operatives who exist on different levels of agreements, so there is going to be a difficulty in expecting natural harmony knowing they are potential rivals.

But when one of them identifies a solution that can ensure optimum delivery, an authority must be able to put in a certain level of weight or pressure for smooth implementation”.

The comment of the freighters boss is in response to a release from the GRA, Customs Division that is cautioning recalcitrant shippers and traders against the submission of alleged falsified documents to Customs in their bid to shortchange government on the payment of applicable duties and taxes.

“The focus must be balanced; we should stop pointing at the symptoms, we have done enough of that, let’s begin to apply the creative tools which are available. When it comes to blocking revenue leakages at the ports, we should not be seen to be appealing to the morals of people but rather ensure that the systems are operating efficiently,” he said.  

According Mr. Ofosu-Appiah added that: “these kinds of notices affect our image out there, we bid internationally for business, to have this constant levels of reportage hurts, particularly so when the culprits are not unseen hosts.  

 As freight forwarders, we have come of age, we know best practices; there may be mistakes; but where it is proven that such persons deliberately tried to outsmart the system, the sanctions must be enforced,” he told the B&FT.