Yire/Portia Addo, GNA
Accra, Dec. 6, GNA – The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has reiterated its commitment to fighting corruption as required by the World Customs Organisation (WCO).
Mr Salifu Koray, Senior Revenue Officer, GRA, said Ghana had established the regulatory framework as required by the WCO and international best practices; declaring that, the Customs Act, 2015 (Act 891) was passed to harmonise and simplify the previous scattered Acts.
“Corruption is a reality in every human institution and customs administrations are no exception. Empirical evidence across the globe discovered perceptions of corruption in custom administrations.”
Mr Koray remarked at the Public Sector Watch Engagement Initiative stakeholders’ engagement workshop in Accra.
He noted that in response to this, the Revised Arusha Declaration was adopted by the WCO in 2003 to provide standards for member countries to formulate and implement home grown policies and programmes to help deal with corruption.
The Arusha Declaration provides 10 interrelated elements: Leadership and commitment, regulatory framework, transparency, automation, reform and modernisation, audit and investigation, code of conduct, human resource development, moral and organisational culture and relationship with the private sector.
Mr Koray said these 10 elements were expected to reduce monopoly power, inappropriate use of official discretion, avoid face to face contact with custom officials and increase practical accountability.
The one-day workshop was organised by the Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMaC) in collaboration with the GRA, Participatory Development Associates Limited (PDA), STAR Ghana, UKaid, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the European Union.
It was aimed at equipping participants with the knowledge of the constitutional provisions that underpins national popular participation framework.
The over 30 participants were drawn from organisations such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Ghana Community Network (GCNet), PDA, the Ghana Union of Traders Association and Customs Brokers Association – Ghana.
Mr Koray said in order to achieve transparency, a realistic service charter had been developed by the Authority, which sets out the level of service clients should expect from customs.
With regards to strategies for fighting corruption, Mr Koray said the implementation of the flagship programme of the Ghana National Single Window (GNSW)/Paperless, which was a portal that provides a comprehensive set of online services to the trading community, would curtail corruption.
The benefits of the GNSW include reduction in time of doing business, reduction in cost of doing business and above all, mitigation of corruption by taking away human interface.
He noted that the implementation of the Revised Arusha Declaration, the Revised Kyoto Convention and the Customs Act 2015 (Act 891), were aimed at the simplification and harmonisation of Customs procedures and also to enhance integrity and fighting against corruption.
Mr Edem Senanu, Co-Chair, CMaC, said the participation and engagement of citizens in decision-making was the hallmark of democracy, adding that, effective citizens’ participation in democratic governance would go long way to curb corruption in the country.
Mr Clement Sefa-Nyarko, Research Evaluation and Learning Manager, PDA, said there was the need for people to be made aware of what was happening and given the opportunity to voice out their concerns; adding that, when duty bearers listen and work on the concerns of the ordinary people, there would be cordial coexistence.