Inadequate personnel and logistics support are hampering the work of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority at the country’s second busiest land border.
This is according to the Officer in charge of general duties at the Elubo border in the Western Region, Custom Revenue Officer, Dan Mennia.
His visit to the border on Friday, follows a JoyNews investigation which revealed some customs officials confessing to bribe-taking to assist smugglers and dealers to transport thousands of cooking oil from neighboring Togo and Ivory Coast to local markets across the country.
In an interview with JoyNews, Dan Mennia said his outfit will be able to generate more revenue for the country if they are provided with more bikes and drones for monitoring activities.
“Alternatively for now, I think we should be talking about the deployment of technology to assist us. In our case, issues like even the deployment of drones especially along the rivers will help us a lot. Logistically we are down, if you look at most of the sister agencies that we have here, they are all actually furnished with things like quad bikes, and vehicles that enable them to go into the bush.
“And so we are actually having logistical problems, staff problems and looking at the enormity of our mandate and border protection management, it is really an issue for us,” he said.
Also at the border was the principal revenue officer at the Elubo collection centre, Emmanuel Duah who said although they need more men to execute their dual mandate, they have been able to exceed their annual revenue target even before the year ends.
“In the first week in September, we were able to meet our target even though we are under-staffed. So far we were able to collect over 300 Gerry cans and then 200 drums of diesel. When we sold to the public, we realized that we had got revenue of GH₵34,500 for the state,” he stated.
It is estimated that the state is losing 300 million cedis in revenue because the smugglers and dealers are bringing in 5000 metric tons of cooking oil annually.
Meanwhile, the GRA has issued a statement with respect to JoyNews’ investigation.
The Authority says it has in place a Taskforce to tackle smuggling at border points nationwide and will sanction accordingly any officer found guilty.
“GRA is fully committed to ensuring that all staff work with integrity and has therefore commenced investigations into officers identified in the video production and any officer found culpable will be sanctioned accordingly. We also assure the general public that GRA will not relent in its mandate of protecting the country’s borders while deterring persons who smuggle goods from and into the country,” the statement said.
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Source: My Joy Online
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