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GRA BANS FOREIGN TRAVEL BY STAFF

General News

The Ghana Revenue Authority has imposed a temporary ban for its entire staff on all trips abroad, including capacity programmes. The ban is in line with measures to help the GRA meet its revenue target for the 2018 fiscal year.

The Ghana Revenue Authority has imposed a temporary ban for its entire staff on all trips abroad, including capacity programmes. The ban is in line with measures to help the GRA meet its revenue target for the 2018 fiscal year.

 

The ban also affects foreign travel approved earlier in the year but scheduled for the latter part of 2018. There is, however, an exemption for staff whose trips are considered “very critical”.

2018 targets

The ban was announced in a circular dated November 7, 2018 sighted by the Daily Statesman. The circular, “Suspension of Foreign Travels: Conference and Training Programmes”, was signed by Emmanuel Kofi Nti, GRA Commissioner General.

Mr Nti is calling for “an all-hands-on-deck approach” to duty to enable the GRA to shore up revenue and meet its targets.

The Authority’s revenue target for this fiscal year is GHC39 billion. Earlier in the year, Mr Nti assured the public: “The target is achievable on the back of hard work and the roll-out of innovative measures.”

The Authority committed itself to raising GHC24.5bn by the end of August. It however managed to mobilise GHC22.7bn ‒ a shortfall of roughly GHC1.8bin.

Aggressive action

Among tools employed by the GRA to ensure aggressive revenue mobilisation are electronic point of sale devices and excise tax stamps.

Other actions taken recently are the shutting down of the internet service provider Surfline Communications Ltd, which owed the state up to GHC37.3 million.

The Authority also managed to “force” GHC2m out of Glo Ghana as part payment towards GHC10m owed the state.

The Authority has impounded more than 400 cars in the Greater Accra Region alone within the past four months for non-payment of customs duties. An additional 249 vehicles were seized between January and April from Kumasi, Elubo, Sunyani, Aflao, Dabala, Koforidua and Takoradi.

Reforms

Commissioner General Nti is spearheading reforms of the customs warehousing machinery, as well as its transit and re-export regimes, alongside intensified patrols to check smuggling.

He remains resolute about working towards the success of the excise tax stamp – an innovation to monitor payment of the correct excise duty and eliminate sale of counterfeit and illicit products. The show of resolve comes at a time when there appears to be resistance from some quarters.

There is also the introduction of the GFTrade and the Temporary Vehicle Importation Monitoring System (TVIMS) to give the customs division access to correct values of imported goods from the countries of export and verify values declared by importers.

This will enable the division to raise more revenue by discovering fraudulent declarations. It will also help track temporarily imported vehicles which have overstayed, and at the same time identify smuggled vehicles.

The Authority will either impound these or compel the owners to pay penalties on them.