The Netherlands Embassy under the GIZ Good Financial Governance Programme has handed over two customs laboratory vans to the Ghana Revenue Authority to enable the institution to undertake quick on-the-spot testing of goods at the checkpoint and warehouses.
The Good Financial Governance (GFG) programme has since 2003 been supporting public financial management reforms in Ghana including revenue management, budget management and domestic accountability to enhance the successful implementation of national poverty reduction strategies.
The laboratories were constructed in Emden, Germany and are tailored to GRA needs. They are equipped with a special signaling system, on-the-spot testing equipment and kits for screening food, drugs and industrial chemicals.
Mobile laboratories are critical to improving the efficiency of customs’ work because they bring customs laboratories out of the building into the field, thereby permitting on-the –spot customs controls and measures to be carried out.
The customs mobile laboratory is a great tool for combating smuggling because it has the capability to detect goods concealed in hidden or false compartments, as well as an important tool for environmental control and consumer protection through its capacity for monitoring and surveillance of radioactive and nuclear material.
In his welcome remarks, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the Commissioner General of GRA said, with the help of the vans, importers would have faster clearance due to the more secure and quicker customs scientific examination processes.
“The deployment of the mobile laboratories will improve the response time for goods that arrive through the outstations’’.
He added that, with the mobile customs laboratories, the country stands to benefit from a more secure flow of goods and increased revenue from international trade.
The modern developments have made it imperative for the GRA to upgrade its customs laboratories with the latest innovations in technology and working methods by the acquisition of mobile laboratories and portable devices Mr. Nti noted.
Mr Ron Strikker, said the gesture formed part of the Dutch government’s agenda to support Ghana’s development, especially in the area of revenue mobilisation. He said the vans will aid in the rapid mobilization of revenue, combat corruption and reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Mr Isaac Crentsil, the Commissioner, Customs Division said he was happy that the vans had come at a time when the GRA is going paperless on ports transactions.
He said the customs laboratories will greatly complement the system as well as enhance business operations of GRA as it has the ability to detect and identify items present in cargo for imports or exports by using modern technologies thus combating smuggling activities.
Mr Crentsil noted that, the two mobile laboratory vans would lead to an improvement in service delivery by the Customs Division.
‘The bilateral relations and friendship between Ghana, the kingdom of Netherlands and Germany have been further strengthened and consolidated through this donation’ he emphasized.
By: Latifa Carlos