The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has disclosed that it will by the middle of August 2017 remove all check points that have impeded trade activities in the country.
The plan is ahead of a September deadline to get all barriers and checkpoints removed to facilitate the movement of goods, persons and services within the country and across the sub-region.
According to the Commissioner of Customs at the GRA, Isaac Crentsil, his outfit has crafted a plan that will culminate in the September timeline by the Vice President.
He explains that the exercise is scheduled to commence in the Northern region by the end of July 2017.
“When his Excellency the Vice President issued the directive, the customs division put a team together to ensure that we get all internal barriers removed. We are going to do that on a pilot basis after meeting the Trade Ministry, Police service as well as Ghana Immigration Service,”
“By 31st July, we are going to remove all internal barriers in the Northern region. We will then proceed to the Southern part of the country so that at the end of August, we will have an evaluation and in September, we take off,” the Commissioner of Customs remarked.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has instructed that all internal barriers be removed by September 1 this year.
This he believes will reduce corruption at the various checkpoints.
The Commissioner of Customs, Isaac Crentsil tells Citi Business News the move will make Ghana competitive within Africa.
Mr. Crentsil however disclosed that his outfit will push for some international barriers to be maintained so as not to breach international best practices.
In all, four barriers are expected to be maintained after the implementation of the policy.
These include the central corridor from Tema to Paga which has the Offinso and Savelugu check points along the route.
The second is the Lagos Abidjan corridor which spans from Dabala through to Agona Junction in the Western region.
“The removal of the internal checks will not bring any serious mishaps to the country because there are about four main checks that we are talking with government to have us maintain them. We have ECOWAS mandated check points that we need to maintain; so not all the border checks that will go,” Mr. Crentsil explained.
He added, “At least it will serve as a deterrent to our willful smugglers those who desire to smuggle. We are also aware of the proliferation of small arms which we ensure that we nib them in the bud.”
The Commissioner of Customs made the remarks when he met with the Comptroller General of the Ghana Immigration Service, Kwame Asuah Takyi on Friday.
The two officers met to discuss strategies on integrated border management between the two agencies.