Business News of 2014-03-07

Cedi fall affects revenue at Aflao border

The depreciation of the Ghana Cedi against major foreign currencies is negatively affecting revenue generation by the Customs Division of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) along Ghana’s main eastern border.

The Aflao Sector Commander of Customs, Ben Beckley, who disclosed this in an interview with BUSINESS GUIDE at his office at the Aflao Border in Ketu South District, noted that “revenue has not been the best in recent times.”

He explained that the depreciation of the local currency had led to a reduction in transactions between business people.

The US dollar, which sold at GH¢2.20 on the local foreign exchange market before Christmas last year, currently sells at about GH¢2.60.

The British Pound, which sold at GH¢3.00, currently sells at GH¢4.20. The Euro and CFA are also selling at GH¢3.50 and GH¢4.80 respectively. In 2013, the local currency depreciated by 17 per cent.

Year-on-year, the cedi depreciated against the dollar by 21.96 per cent, 28.88 per cent against the Pound, 23.98 per cent against the euro and 25.54 per cent against the Swiss Franc.

That notwithstanding, he said “we are working hard to rake in more revenue for the country.”

Achieving revenue targets in the last two years has been a Herculean task, he said.

He mentioned that last year, his outfit fell short of its revenue target of GH¢117.1 million.

He was hopeful this year’s target of GH¢218.72 million would be achieved by GRA.

Mr. Beckley, who is also the Chair of the Border Security Council, noted that the security agencies were working together to stop smuggling, human trafficking, robbery, among others.

He noted that a Joint Border Security Committee had been established by Ghana and Togo called Aflao-Kordzovia Security Committee to address the numerous challenges.

The committee, he said, would harness the resources of the two countries to combat border crime and fortify the Ghana-Togo Border.

The Aflao Sector Commander of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Julius Gborglah, complained that preliminary research and analysis indicated that over 3,000 people cross the Aflao border daily without official identity cards or documents.

Mr. Gborglah therefore called on the National Identification Authority (NIA) to collaborate with GIS to properly identify residents to differentiate them from travellers, foreigners and other unscrupulous persons.