Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, on Friday said government will continue to improve measures to protect its people from terrorist activities, organized transnational criminal activities and human trafficking.
He said government had invested resources in Customs to enhance their capacity to combat drug trafficking and drugs consumption (with its attendant health hazards) as well as the international trade in narcotics and money laundering.
Mr Ofori-Atta speaking in a speech read on his behalf to mark the “International Customs Day 2020” said the role of Customs worldwide has always been the same: to develop measures and adopt procedures and processes to promote and facilitate trade in goods and services in the international supply chain.
The international Customs Day was on the theme “Customs, Fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet.”
He said government aimed at reducing the time and costs of clearing and taking delivering of imported consignments of goods.
He said these interventions for the safety and good of the people, were possible because of the legal framework provided by Government.
“We will continue to regularly review our work in this area to update the regulatory provisions, with the view to securing and protecting the people and society,” he added.
He said to ensure prosperity and socio-economic development, government policy directives were all aimed at promoting and facilitating international trade.
He assured the international community, the Customs fraternity and stakeholders of Customs activities that the government was committed to policies and programmes to equip the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority to promote and facilitate international trade.
He said by the provision of an appropriate legislative framework by the government for Customs administration and operations, Ghana Customs has been able to introduce innovative procedures and processes while adopting international best practices in the clearing and processing of goods at Ghanaian ports.
He assured personnel of government continuous support Customs to perform at top-gear, in the interest of both Ghana and the international community.
“Our objective is to continue working together with the international partners for the ultimate attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, the World Customs Organisation Secretary General throughout 2020, under the slogan “Customs fostering Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet,” the Customs community would focus on the contribution of Customs towards a sustainable future where social, economic, health and environmental needs were at the heart of its actions.
He said with only 10 years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and given the direct links between Customs’ strategic mission and several of the SDGs, it was important for Customs to meet all the environmental, economic, health and social challenges, while scaling up its ongoing efforts to respond effectively in a more proactive manner.
He said serving the People by building safe and secure societies, Customs plays a critical role in implementing regulations addressing the major social and economic challenges facing societies across the globe.
He said they do this by promoting innovation through the protection of intellectual property rights and preventing sub-standard or counterfeit goods and products that infringe regulations from entering local markets.
He said by streamlining its operations, Customs could reduce the time and cost of moving goods across borders and stimulate trade activities, thus increasing income and employment, as well as promoting national and foreign investment.
“By taking strong action against commercial fraud and tax evasion, Customs also ensures that national governments are not deprived of critical revenues necessary to fund public infrastructure and services,” he added.
He said thus, Customs’ practices and methods should be aligned with the World Customs Organisation’s tools and instruments, which have been incorporated into several packages.
The packages include the Revenue Package, the Economic Competitiveness Package, the Compliance and Enforcement Package, and the Organizational Development Package.
Dr Mikuriya said as in previous years, he was convinced that Customs administrations and the wider Customs community would rise to the occasion, fully committed to actively promoting their efforts and activities aimed at fostering “Sustainability for People, Prosperity and the Planet”.
Mr Ammishaddi Owusu-Amoah, the Commissioner General, GRA said the Customs Division was looking at the enlargement of the digital Customs, where more emphasis would be placed on the use of technologies and the standards on Customs border e-commerce to leverage e-commerce opportunities in an inclusive manner.
He said all these were aimed at sustainability for people, prosperity and the planet, adding that fortunately, much of the elements they need were inherent in the SDGs and were echoes of what were required for the Millennium Development Goals.
He said the Customs Division had been a pillar in ensuring that the sub-standard and pirated products were not consumed by the people not forgetting the safety and security role they play in protecting the country from organised criminal activities, terrorist and human trafficking.