International Customs Day marked in Accra

Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, Alhaji Iddrisu Iddisah Seidu (left), and Project Owner for Time Release Study, Baffour Yaw Asare (right)

Customs organisations in the 185 Customs Organisations (WCO) member countries and their partners, who affect world trade management, convene each year to celebrate the International Customs Day which is observed on January 26.

This year’s event held at the Customs Head Office in Accra was themed: “Customs engaging traditional and new partners with purpose”.

The day also was another opportunity for Ghana’s customs to reflect on their mission, accomplishments while strategizing for the future.

At the ceremony, outstanding customs officers who have performed exceptionally across the various customs centres in the country were celebrated with awards.

WCO Secretary-General, Ian Saunders, in a speech read by the Commissioner, Customs Division of GRA, Alhaji Iddrisu Iddisah Seidu, urged members of WCO to embrace cutting-edge technologies and data analytics as enablers of their engagement with partners to increase their responsiveness and effectiveness.

He said “such a dynamic approach is vital in an ever-changing global landscape and increases our ability to achieve meaningful results in line with our technical mission”.

The Commissioner General of the GRA, Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Commissioner, Operations 1, at GRA, Daniel Edisi, said the division has embarked on a number of projects intended to identify and remove bottlenecks that impeded efficient clearance of goods at the ports, as well as establish baseline data for measuring trade facilitation and exchange of information.

He said the 2023 Time Release Study conducted by the Customs Division was one of such successful projects.

Chief Executive of the Ghana Shippers Authority, Kwesi Baffour Sarpong, who chaired the ceremony said reiterated the significance of public partnerships with the private sector.

“For us at GSA any endeavour that facilitates, enables or enhances the business of private sector particularly importers and exporters and transitors who we call shippers is very heart-warming” he expressed.

The Marketing and Public Affairs Manager at the Port of Tema doubled up on the call for purposeful partnership in the sector.

She expressed “some years back the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority was the only Authority in the industry but over the years we have councils and boards that have also become authorities backed by legislative instruments and in our engagements with them, as partners we must ensure mutual respect, understanding of each partner’s vision and mission and to ensure that our organizational cultures blend seamlessly towards one unique objective.”

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in a speech read on his behalf said that partnerships were vital to international customs operations and, as such, urged the division to be proactive by strengthening existing alliances and initiating new collaborations.

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