Ghana's encouraging move towards Customs modernization

03 December 2015

At the invitation of Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke about Ghana Customs' progress and its way forward supported by technology, such as the Single Window, at the National Single Window Conference held in Accra, Ghana on 1 and 2 December 2015.

During the Conference, Secretary General Mikuriya praised the strong political will for Customs reform to improve economic competitiveness, evidenced by the presence of the Speaker of Parliament and the Ministers of Finance, Trade, Transport and Agriculture. 

He saw this Conference as an excellent opportunity for stakeholder engagement and much needed dialogue between Customs, other agencies and business.  He reiterated the WCO's capacity building support to equip people with the necessary competences and enable them to improve their professional standards and integrity as well as to help business enhance compliance.

Secretary General Mikuriya met with Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Vice President of Ghana, representing the President who was on mission abroad.  He thanked the Ghana Government for empowering Customs to take over Destination Inspection services since September, a move that the Secretary General had advocated with President Mahama two years ago. 

He was also happy to hear from businesses that they were already noting some improvement in terms of reduced inspections and shorter clearance times for legitimate trade.  With that welcome step, Customs was now ready to extend its partnership approach to integrate other government agencies within the scope of the Single Window. 

Secretary General Mikuriya recommended a gap analysis to develop a roadmap for the Single Window’s development, possibly with the support of the Time Release Study, involving other government agencies. He also discussed ratification of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which should go hand-in-hand with accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention. 

The Vice President showed great interest in improving Customs’ performance and in countering under-invoicing, while pledging continuous political support for Customs modernization. The Secretary General thanked him for this political commitment and gave assurances of WCO assistance in this respect.

Stakeholder engagement for the Single Window will continue during the rest of the week, with the assistance of WCO experts.


Cover photo: WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya and Ghana's Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur