The border protection issue will have to change

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The border protection issue will have to change. Brigadier-General Zibrim Bawah Ayorrogo, Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said expanding surveillance at the nation’s borders would enhance national revenue.

He said border security remained a major challenge for the Customs Division as smugglers and other illegal traders continued to evade checks into the country, causing revenue losses to the State.

Brigadier-General Ayorrogo, who was briefing the media during a working visit to the Volta Region on Thursday, noted the persistence of unapproved routes along the borders, which he said must be addressed.

“The border protection issue will have to change. The more we protect, the more money we will get. Indeed, there are individuals ready and willing to pay taxes and duties, but others will not be willing.

“But if we are able to seal the borders to some extent, obviously you have to follow the rules and you will get money out of it,” the Commissioner stated.

He mentioned the unavailability of customs checkpoints in some border communities in the Region strategic to illegal trade, and said as part of his tour, challenges including personnel numbers were being taken note of.

“The key issue is about the vulnerabilities in terms of the unapproved routes. They (Customs Officers) have a strategy of compelling the individual to use the approved routes and once that is done, it is obvious that the actual revenue or the target will be achieved.

“It’s not an easy task but covering unapproved routes to much extent would yield a lot of dividends,” he said.

Brigadier-General Ayorrogo spoke of the need to make active the marine unit of the Customs Division, adding that the nation’s water bodies were “almost uncovered.”

He said stakeholders would be engaged on issues including the nature of some roads and assured of his resolve to tackle challenges head on.

The Commissioner, who is on the first leg of a nationwide tour, earlier met officers at Aflao, and said the visit would provide firsthand appreciation of the working and living conditions of the Officers as well as their grievances to achieve the mission and vision of the GRA.

“So, there is a chain of issues and I think that by putting our heads together, we are likely to achieve our objectives.”

Brigadier-General Ayorrogo said he personally resolved to addressing challenges “instantly” and assured Officers, “I will solve problems as much as they arrive.”

Accompanying the Commissioner of the tour were some other heads of the Customs Division, and the entourage is scheduled to be in the Eastern Region after visiting Hohoe.

Assistant Commissioner of Customs Felicia Azumah, the Ho Sector Commander, said several strategies were in place to address smuggling of goods particularly motor vehicles in the catchment area.

She said the Ho Sector was gaining “notoriety” as a hub of uncustomed vehicles, and that with the assurance and support from the new Commissioner, revenue targets would be met.

Source: GNA


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