Hon. Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng has noted that effective partnership between Government and the private sector in all spheres of the economy would greatly boost revenue generation.
During a working visit to SML (Strategic Mobilization Limited), a private entity specializing in Trade Facilitation and Revenue Mobilization, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Mr. Kwaku Kwarteng, accompanied by the Commissioner, Customs Division, GRA and other officials sought to explore the benefits that government has derived from engaging its services as a Transaction Auditor within the Single Window environment and also to ascertain how its operations had so far contributed to government revenue.
During an interactive infographics presentation facilitated by the Head of Business Analysis and Reporting, Mr. John Ekow Mensah, the processes involved in its operations and how it had reported on some anomalies to Ghana Revenue Authority were explained to the delegation.
According to John Mensah, SML receives files from Customs Division electronically and they audit the received files, make recommendations and forward them back to Customs.
Touching on how the system operates, he noted that in determining the duty value of an import, the Free On Board (FOB) which is the price of the item and the Harmonized System HS code, which is the globally accepted code for clarifying an import play significant roles and so in misclassifying a code, the right duties may not apply and statistically the country may not get the right figures for the items coming into the country.
“Most Importers also have the tendency to under declare their import values thereby causing Government to lose revenue and so the research unit at SML is able to double-check from the exact place the items were bought to verify the authenticity of the invoices submitted by such importers” Mr Ekow Mensah noted.
Mr. Evans Adusei, the Chief Executive Officer of SML indicated that with its resources of very experienced professionals in Customs Classification and Valuation, and also with its up-to-date market research, product price database and research teams, located in different parts of the globe, it was ready to continue providing Customs with Transaction Audit Services and also External Verification services if mandated to do so.
The Deputy Minister who was impressed with the day to day work of SML, noted that the organization’s services would be a worthy check on the main valuation and classification activities of the Customs Technical Service Bureau and would also need the necessary mandate in terms of their points of intervention during the clearance chain. It was his hope that once these were fine-tuned and instituted, the partnership would result in higher revenue generation for the GRA.
“With such ingenuity to check payment disparities at the ports and ensure government does not lose revenue which was very much needed to develop the country, there was the need for your institution to be drafted into the mainstream structure where your outfit would effectively work hand in hand with Customs Division before final declaration on goods at the ports are made by Customs” Mr Kwaku Kwarteng stated.
Hon. Deputy Minister reiterated government’s desire to continuously partner all relevant private sector institutions that have the wherewithal to cause structural and institutional change for the betterment of Ghanaians.