Numerous unauthorised Police barriers affecting revenue mobilisation Stakeholders

Stakeholders at the forum

Stakeholders at the forum

Stakeholders at a joint tax education seminar organised in Bolgatanga of the Upper East Region  last  Friday, cited the numerous unauthorised barriers mounted by the Ghana Police between the corridors of Paga and Tema as one of the major challenges affecting the raking in of revenue for national development.

They alleged  that  business people from  Ghana’s neighbouring countries including Burkina Faso , Niger, Mali, Togo and Ivory Coast  who use the corridor as a transit point were not only  harassed  by many   of the police officers at the unauthorised check points,  but were also exploited in monetary terms by some  police officers.

The Tax Education Seminar on the theme” Voluntary tax compliance relevant for national development,”  organised by the Upper East Regional  GRA –Customs Division,   attracted stakeholders from the  Shippers Council, Hotel industry,  Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ghana Food and Drug Authority, the media , the  security agencies, and motor  dealers among others in the region.

According to the stakeholders, the attitude of police officers had led to  many of the business tycoons who often  used the Paga –Tema   corridor  as a result of its short nature  to  divert to  through other  countries corridors including Togo thereby affecting the mobilisation of the country’s  revenue.

Delivering a Paper on the topic” Transit trade, legal regimes and temporary vehicle importation,” Mr  Kwame Arhen, a Senior Revenue Officer of Customs, educated the stakeholders that with the ECOWAS Protocols, once the transitor had been issued with the bond sticker and paid the administrative cost to the Customs, there are not expected to pay any additional monies often alleged to be demanded from the police.

Mr Arhen mentioned that another major frustration the transistors often faced was from the weighing stations which he indicated were not uniformity in charging the Vehicles of the transitors loaded with goods.

He, therefore, stressed the need for the weighing systems to be calibrated to help stop the different  prices often charged by the managers of the weighing stations.

The Upper East Regional Chairman of the Ghana Shippers Committee, Mr Francis Danso, who expressed worry about the negative trend, said the phenomenon was not only having a toll on the nation’s revenue mobilisation, but was also affecting  shippers in the country who contribute a lot to the nation’s economy.

He said a recent research conducted in the country with the support from the USAID, revealed that about 700 million US dollars which are exploited in the Paga –Tema port annually  are diverted into private pockets instead of nation building.

“The research also revealed that about GH¢3,000 was exploited from each transitor using the Paga –Tema route daily. This is leading to the drastic reduction of many businessmen who often use our roads.  There have been  major reduction of police barriers between the Aflao –Elubo boarders which is raking a lot of revenue for the country but that of the Paga –Tema route is always getting worse and something drastically needs to be done to address the problem” , he stressed.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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