The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori Atta, has called on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to endeavour to address tax leakages at the Tema ports in a bid to help government raise the needed revenue for national development.
Mr Ofori-Atta made the call on Wednesday when he visited some container storage depots at the Tema port, notably the Atlas Container Terminal, Amaris Terminal Ghana and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority Reefer Container Terminal to observe the operations of personnel at the port.
He expressed concern over the loss of revenue at the ports, particularly through tax evasion by some miscreants in connivance with some port officials.
While commending the GRA for the efforts made in generating revenue, he insisted that more must be done to block the leakages through which state funds were lost.
Mr Ofori-Atta was accompanied by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Reverend Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, National Security Coordinator, Maj. Gen Francis Adu-Amanfoh, Deputy National Security Coordinator, Mr Edward Asomani and other high ranking security and port officials.
The Finance Minister stressed the need to promote efforts to digitise activities at the ports to reduce human contact, curb corruption at the ports and boost domestic revenue mobilisation.
It would be recalled that in the aftermath of the successful implementation of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), a trade facilitation tool, government raked in GH¢ 16.08 billion in total revenue at the end of the 2021 fiscal year, against GH¢ 11.25 billion revenue generated at the ports in 2019 prior to the operationalisation of the ICUMS system.
Relative to the GH¢14.36 billion generated in 2020, the revenue raised in 2021 marks a 27.6 per cent increase in revenue mobilised by the GRA at the nation’s seaports.
The increase in revenue through the ICUMS was amidst the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on port activities in 2020 and 2021.
There are indications that as a result of the implementation of ICUMS, government earns between GH¢1.3 billion and GH¢ 1.4 billion in revenue per month.
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA