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Business News of Saturday, 1 February 2020

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

Government will continue to facilitate effective international trade - Ofori-Atta

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has assured the international community, the Customs fraternity, and stakeholders of Customs activities that the government of Ghana is committed to policies and programmes to equip the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to promote and facilitate international trade.

This was contained in a statement read on his behalf by the Deputy Minister of Finance Kwaku Kwarteng at the 2020 International Customs Day which was under the theme ”Customs Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”.

According to him, by the provision of an appropriate legislative framework by the Government for Customs administration and operations, Ghana Customs has been able to introduce innovative procedures and processes while adopting international best practices in the clearing and processing of goods at Ghanaian ports.

"In this, we have aimed at reducing the time and costs of clearing and taking delivering of imported consignments of goods,” he added.

He indicated that the government of Ghana has invested resources in Customs to enhance their capacity to combat drug trafficking and drugs consumption (with its attendant health hazards) as well as the international trade in narcotics and money laundering.

"We will continue to regularly review our work in this area to update the regulatory provisions, with the view to securing and protecting the people and society.

To ensure prosperity and socioeconomic development, the government policy directives are all aimed at promoting and facilitating international trade, he said.

He commended the GRA for hard work and dedication to their duties.

"I commend our regulatory institutions for partnering Ghana Customs to ensure a good customs management regime. The Ghana Standard Authority, Plant Protection and Regulatory Service, Food and Drugs Authority, Veterinary Services, Narcotics Control Board, etc., working together with the Customs to regulate and control what enters or leaves our Country. You do this in furtherance of the objectives of the various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), by enforcing their respective legislations for the enhancement of cross-border trade and for the safety our people.”

We’ll continue to digitise our Operations - GRA Boss

In his welcome address, the Commissioner General Mr. Ammishadai Owusu-Amoah said his outfit is looking at the enlargement of digital customs where more emphasis will be placed on the use of modern technologies and the standards on Cross Border E-Commerce to leverage e-commerce opportunities inclusively.

He said much of the elements needed for the GRA to achieve this are inherent in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): an enabling domestic environment, including good governance, sound economic policies, solid democratic institutions, rule of law, and sound national policy strategies.

He assured Ghanaians the GRA will continue to work with other stakeholders to ensure that sub-standard and pirated goods are not consumed by Ghanaians not forgetting the safety and security role they play to protecting the country from organised criminal activities, terrorists and human trafficking.

He was proud the GRA has lived up to the expectations of this year’s International Customs Day.

Reading a speech on behalf of the World Customs Organization General Secretary Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd) said ”By fulfilling its vision, mission and mandate, Customs can effectively contribute to the achievement of all 17 SDGs at the national level. Thus, Customs’ practices and methods should be aligned with the WCO’s tools and instruments, which have been incorporated into several packages: the Revenue Package, the Economic Competitiveness Package, the Compliance and Enforcement Package, and the Organizational Development Package.”

He called for efforts towards the attainment of the United Nations SDGs.

"Indeed, Customs is uniquely mandated and positioned at borders to play a prominent role across the international supply chain, ensuring a sustainable, secure, and inclusive future for all. Therefore, with only 10 years left to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and given the direct links between Customs’ strategic mission and several of the SDGs, it is important for Customs to meet all the environmental, economic, health and social challenges while scaling up its ongoing efforts to respond effectively in a more proactive manner.”

Solidarity messages were received from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Ghan Shippers Authority (GSA), and the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA).

The International Customs Day (ICD) has been dedicated to the contribution of Customs towards a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs are at the heart of our actions, with the slogan “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”.

Instituted by the World Customs Organization (WCO), International Customs Day is held on January 26, which commemorates the day in 1953 when the inaugural session of the Customs Cooperation Council (CCC) was held in Brussels, Belgium. Seventeen European countries attended this session. In 1994 the CCC was renamed World Customs Organization (WCO) and today custom organizations from 179 countries are WCO members.

Custom agencies hold employee appreciation events where custom officers are recognized for their exemplary service. Workshops, conferences and talks that focus on the year’s theme and the challenges that agencies and officers face are also held.

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