The Western Regional Command of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority says the region has made good strides since implementation of the paperless system for coordinating import and export transactions initiated in 2014.
He indicated that the Division, for now, operates a totally paperless system for imports, while some aspects of the export regime does business with paperwork.
The paperless system was introduced to save businesses undue delay in submitting paper documents from one office to another in the name of verifying goods to be exported or imported.
Also, the new system sought to avoid ill-practices to enable businesses carry out their activities in real time, save cost and maintain monetary values so as to make that sector more attractive to participate in.
Mr. Francis Tanlango, Customs Commander, Takoradi, explained that agents are not supposed to bring anything paper to the command, but should only input their details through the electronic system where prices are generated.
The agents, after accepting the values generated by the system, receive an electronic alert after examination by an officer of the division has certified all information electronically.
The importer is then issued a release notice to enable him or her clear goods: “Now, with imports, everything is paperless from documentation to permitting”.
Mr. Tanlango said the Customs Division of the Takoradi Collection unit was able to collect GH¢622,267,183 as against the proposed target of GH¢867,090,000 in 2018.
Mr. Tanlango attributed the shortfall in the proposed target for 2018 to high exemptions for oil-wells and mining equipment, differentials in freight charges, and the inability of most vessels to berth in Takoradi due to the expansion project.
The Division pegged GH¢895,470,000 for collection in 2019, and said the Division will continue to work hard to achieve the targets.
In 2019, the Division will deploy human escorts on some selected commodities meant for transit to foreign countries to reduce the risk of diversion, implement penalty impositions on non-compliant operators, and intensify education to encourage voluntary compliance.