The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has marked the 64th International Customs Day celebration in Accra with a focus on how to enhance communication by adopting digital facilities in its operation with stakeholders.
The occasion which was under the theme, “Digital Customs: Progressive Engagement”, was also used to launch the Customs Technical Services Bureau (CTSB).
The facility would handle the re-introduced classification and valuation function by customs, using ICT interface with declarants.
Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner-General of GRA, underscored the increasing importance of communication in tax administration, especially in dealing with the diverse clientele and stakeholders.
He said though the early stages of the project experienced some challenges, it was overcome through diligent monitoring as the GRA intends to sustain the successes attained to improve revenue assessment and collection.
He noted that the Authority in its bid to combat bureaucracies which are prevalent in the tax administration mechanism, had deployed enormous ICT facilities to ensure user-friendly services to declarants.
One of such mechanisms, he said, includes the Pre Arrival Assessment Reporting System (PAARS) which according to him is a dynamic real time, internal control and sustainable risk management platform that promotes planning, import verification and ensures investor confidence.
He said the implementation of PAARS which had taken over the core custom functions from the Destination Inspection Scheme (DIC’s) had contributed to the attainment of revenue targets for the year 2015.
Launching the facility, the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper, who was the guest of honour, commended the Ghana Revenue Authority for its decision to launch the CTSB to handle the valuation and classification of custom duties mainly by ICT interface with importers.
He said the government, as part of tax administration reforms during the 2013 Annual Budget and Fiscal Policy declared the phasing-out of the Destination Inspection Scheme that had been operational for some years.
According to him, govern-ment’s policy to streamline international trade initiatives and operations, has made it possible to implement policies such as the creation of the National Single Window which emphasises confidence in the private sector as a key building block for national development.
By Jonny Nuekpe