Ghana's imports revenue recorded a worrying shortfall of 45.02 percent for the month of June 2020 alone, at the Tema ports, while records for other months, show a scary path of economic downslide as a result of the controversial Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS.
In a country where import revenue contributes a significant part of 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(GRA) 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 GHC1,006,880,000.00 but the total revenue raised was only GHC553,566,898.06. This means there was a shortfall of GHC-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 GRA, Prof. 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 facing 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 GHC528,480,000.00 but the actual figure collected was just GHC288,954,906.99 meaning there was a variance of GH-C239,525,093.01.
For import VAT, the revenue target was GHC347,740,000.00 but the actual revenue collected was GHC190,969,135.99 meaning there was a variance of GHC-159,770,864.01.
When it came to import NHIL, the revenue target was GHC65,330,000.00 but the actual revenue collected was GHC36,373,614.84 meaning there was a variance of GHC-28,956,385.16.
And then with the GET Fund, the target was GHC65,333,000.00 but only GHC37,269,240.24 and the variance was GHC-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 Ghana Link/UNIPASS-ICUMS system is still enveloped in a litany on unending challenges making trade facilitation uneasy for agents who are being cowed into docility.
The 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.