Revenue collection at the Tema Ports has been betrayed by defective leadership and the disastrous Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system that has resulted in a worrying shortfall to the tune of 45.02 % in expected government revenue for June 2020.
In plain figures, the total revenue raised at the Tema Ports for June 2020 summed up to only GHC553,566,898.06 when the revenue target was GHC1,006,880,000.00.
The variance was a whopping GHC-453,313,101.94 and this has been blamed on the avoidable challenges occasioned by the controversial Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS tragedy.
Interestingly, a new culture of silence pertaining within the top hierarchy of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has led to zipped lips over a worrying shortfall to the tune of 45.02 % in government revenue at the Tema Ports for June 2020 and the shortfall runs across other revenue collection points including the Takoradi and Kotoka International Airport.
The revenue statistics were captured in the Tema Collectionâ€™s monthly revenue performance report released on July 1 by the Policy and Programmes office of the GRA-Customs Division.
The figures have been kept under wraps because during the same period the GRA Board Chairman, Professor Stephen Adei, was on a public relations interview in the media claiming that there are better results in revenue collection and mentioning some questionable figures.
â€œWe are getting better results â€“ because in May and June alone, even under COVID-19, there was far more collection of revenue than previously collected under the old system,â€ Prof. Adei told Joy Fm at a time the Tema Ports collection alone had a variance of GHC- GHC-453,313,101.94, a shortfall of over 45 percent.
Never before in the history of Ghanaâ€™s finances would the country need more revenue to recover from the pangs of the adverse effects of COVID-19 and also to sustain the several brilliant financial subsidies announced by the Akufo-Addo led government.
The financial prospects of the country however appear relatively bleak with the challenges in revenue collection, caused by the controversial Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS tragedy.
The Tema Collectionâ€™s revenue performance report compiled by the GRA for June revealed further that import duty, import VAT, import NHIL, and GETFund all suffered huge shortfalls with jaw-dropping figures.
With the ongoing tug-of-war at the GRA and junior staff agitation, the claim by the Board Chair that revenue collection is on an all-time high has sparked hushed murmurings and near-ridicule for him especially among some Board members.
With a clear decision by the government to implement the Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS despite its economically suicidal challenges, stakeholders have lowered expectations and taken a new posture towards ports reforms and enhanced trade facilitation.
Cooked up figures
It has been suggested that for political reasons, the actual revenue collected is not being accurately publicized but rather figures that would make the faulty Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system look good within the corridors of power is what is being trumpeted.
Reports in the media say the Finance Committee of Parliament has hinted that the Committee has kept eagle eyes on recent happenings at the countryâ€™s ports as far as trade facilitation and revenue generation and mobilization are concerned.
The Committee, reports say, 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.