The government’s vision of building a progressive and prosperous Ghana will depend on the revenue to be generated by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated.
He described the GRA as the cutting edge to Ghana becoming a “country of dignity and pride that is able to finance its own development”.
President Akufo-Addo said this on Wednesday when he visited the Tema Harbour to interact with officials of the GRA, as well as acquaint himself with work being undertaken at the harbour.
It formed the start of his three-day tour of the Greater Accra Region.
“If you succeed, Ghana succeeds; if you fail, we will fail,” he told the management and staff of the GRA.
He said if the GRA was able to meet its revenue targets, the government would be able “to finance the expenditures we would need in our social sectors, for our education, for our housing, for our health, among others”.
The President said that with such revenue inflows, the government would also invest in various sectors of the economy, such as industry, trade and agriculture.
“It is not by accident that we were the first of the Black nations on the continent to become free from European colonialism. It is because generations of Ghanaians had fought and worked and mobilised to bring us to where we are today. We have a very proud past, but what will make that proud past count is if we have a prosperous and rich future,” he said.
He, therefore, appealed to the staff of the GRA not to think of ‘chopping’ Ghana but work harder to make the country great.
He urged officials of the GRA to be sincere, active collaborators and co-operating to build the Ghana of our dreams.
“My part is to try to help define and design the policy. But you are the people responsible for executing it. If the execution is solid, Ghana is solid,” he stressed.
Tema Port expansion project
Before visiting the Tema Harbour, the President visited the site of the Tema Port expansion project, where he reiterated the commitment of the government to the rapid development of the country to put Ghana onto the path of progress and prosperity during his tenure.
The $1.5-billion project is expected to improve the country’s trade completiveness, facilitate trade growth and improve revenue mobilisation.
It will also enable the Tema Port to accommodate some of the world’s largest container ships and improve cargo handling services and capacity.
“It is extremely important for the development of Ghana that such a development should take place. As you know, we are committed to a very rapid development of our country, especially its industrial and agricultural sectors,” he told the contractors and officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
The rapid development of the country, the President stressed, required the necessary support infrastructure.
“This Tema Port is one of them which will ensure that we will have in our country a first-class port, modern and capable of receiving the biggest vessels in the world and allowing us to accelerate the pace of our development and exchanges,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo assured the partners in the project of government’s support in fulfilling their contractual obligations.
“It is a massive undertaking. Our neighbours are also undertaking important port developments in Cote d’Ivoire and in Lome, Togo. I have seen the Lome facility myself, but I am sure they will not be superior to what we will have in Ghana,” he said.
The Commissioner in charge of the Customs Division of the GRA, Mr Isaac Crentsil, said the essence of the paperless port system was to facilitate trade in the sub-region and reduce the cost and the time of doing business at the ports.
It was also to introduce the electronic exchange of trade documents and data among stakeholders in the clearance process to induce convenience at the ports and operate at international standards, he added.
He recalled that the paperless port project which was rolled out last September had some teething challenges but said a good number of them had since been surmounted.
He said revenue collection for that started on a negative note, but with the introduction of software changes, the trend that was going downwards was arrested last month.
Currently, Mr Crentsil said, his outfit had collected about 86 per cent of its revenue target for 2017, saying that with the deployment of the enhanced systems, he was certain that the target would be achieved, if not surpassed.
Source: Daily Graphic