If the vision of a "Ghana Beyond Aid" agenda of the Government is to be realised, institutions responsible for nation's revenue mobilisation and utilisation will have to be more efficient, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has urged.
Mrs Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Executive Director, GII, recounted that the recent mid-term budget statement of the Government depicted that revenue shortfalls still persist.
She noted that several factors might account for the country's inability to mobilise enough revenues but clearly, "conspiracy with public and political officials at some levels of revenue mobilisation to defraud the state; tax evasion, extortion, bribery and corruption were among factors that could not be unmentioned".
Mrs Ofori-Kwafo said this at a Multi-Stakeholder Business Integrity Forum (MSBIF) in Accra.
The MSBIF is a quarterly event being organised by GII, the local Chapter of Transparency International, under the DANIDA-supported Tax and Development Programme.
The forum, on the theme: "Promoting an Effective Business Environment within our Ports: A case of Cumbersome Clearing Process", was attended by more than 80 participants drawn from the freight forwarding industry, mobile communications network, and state institutions in operating at the ports.
The objectives of the one-day workshop was to discuss challenges faced by the private sector in doing business in Ghana and instituting a road map for follow ups for the resolution of these challenges.
Mrs Ofori-Kwafo stated that the situation was even aggravated by the fact that the little the institutions generated, were misappropriate as evident in the Auditor General's different reports.
She underscored the need to highlight and find solutions to the challenges faced by importers in connection with the clearing of their goods at the ports especially in their dealings with the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Colonel Kwadwo Damoah Rtd, Commissioner, Customs Division of the GRA, in a speech read on his behalf, recommended that to ensure efficiency and speedy clearance of goods at the nation's ports, there should be a written outline of the port clearing process.
He said the public institutions of concern were the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), the Customs Division of the GRA and the Port Health Services.
"On the part of the port authorities, the clearest examples of non-cooperation, apparent power struggles and conflict-prone activities can be found between GPHA on the one hand and the Customs Division of the GRA, on the other hand," Col. Damoah said.
In a panel discussion, Mr Garvin Amarvie, Coordinator at the GPHA said
Mr Amarvie, said the Port Authority was ready to listen to concerns from stakeholders, address challenges and provide technical advice, also noted that having a consensus would enhance trade facilitation as the advice would be embraced by all.
Mr Paul Nkrumah-Ababio, Assistant Commissioner at the Customs Division of the GRA, said among their objectives was to help businesses get their goods and raw materials cleared as fast as possible.
He said one area Customs kept emphasising was compliance of laws and procedures, saying, "if the importer is not complaint, then, there is the need to take time to do detailed work; and this causes the delays".
Mr Kwabena Ofosu-Appiah, President, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, said operations at the Ports continued to be strained with many challenges due to some administrative bottlenecks.
Mr Ofosu-Appiah underscored the need for a governance structure for traders to get the enabling environment to do business.
He said, he was hopeful that when modern day tools were being injected into the processes, some of the things would be done right.