Ghana’s imports revenue has recorded a worrying shortfall of 45.02 percent for the month of June 2020 alone, at the Tema ports, showing a scary path to economic suicide.
In a country where import revenue contributes significantly to total government income, reducing the revenue by half, as captured by the monthly revenue performance reports compiled by the policy and programmes outfit of the Ghana Revenue Authority – Customs Division, shows an ongoing economic ‘dance of death’ inspired by discorded management that lacks harmony.
The monthly report released on July 1, 2020, indicated that for the month of June 2020, the revenue target at the Tema port was GH¢1,006,880,000.00 but the total revenue raised was only GH¢553,566,898.06. This means there was a shortfall of GH¢453,313,101.94
The off-putting figures and a clear inability to meet revenue targets by such huge margins completely rubbishes the recent public claims by the Board Chairman of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Professor Stephen Adei, that “We are getting better results – because in May and June alone, even under COVID-19, there was far more collection of revenue than previously collected under the old system.”
It is not certain the exact motivation of the Board Chair of the GRA and a Professor for that matter, in making such claims but what is certain is that he is suffering a lot of internal protests and agitations from his own outfit and a failure to meet revenue targets, or at least to be perceived to be meeting his revenue targets would not do him any good.
Breaking down the fine details of the variance for the month of June, the report explained that for import duty for instance, the actual revenue target was GH¢528,480,000.00 but the actual figure collected was just GHC288,954,906.99 meaning there was a variance of GH¢239,525,093.01.
For import VAT, the revenue target was GH¢347, 740,000.00 but the actual revenue collected was GH¢190,969,135.99 meaning there was a variance of GH¢159,770,864.01.
When it came to import NHIL, the revenue target was GH¢65,330,000.00 but the actual revenue collected was GH¢36,373,614.84 meaning there was a variance of GH¢28,956,385.16.
And then with the GET Fund, the target was GH¢65,333,000.00 but only GH¢37,269,240.24 and the variance was GH¢-28,060,759.76.
A source within the Finance Committee of Parliament has hinted that the Committee has kept eyes on recent happenings at the country’s ports as far as revenue generation and mobilization is concerned.
He said the Committee would soon invite the GRA-Customs Division to come before it over the contradictory claims of how much revenue has been raised from the ports and whether or not the revenue targets had truly been met.
The new system itself has been unable to prove the fictional claims of superiority on which’s wings it was propelled into existence.
It is however backed by strong arms within the corridors of power although it is not popular among relevant stakeholders some of who initially resorted to openly expressing their displeasure and even hooted at the Minister for Trade when he went to ports.