Ghana’s frontier border management and operations is expected to be reinforced to ensure improved cross border trade and revenue mobilisation as the two lead border agencies resolve to work together.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Attah is convinced that improved free movement of persons, goods and services have a cascading effect on revenue figures and therefore investment into the country.
In a speech read on his behalf, Ofori-Attah explained “free facilitated movement of persons combined with a facilitated trade will encourage foreign direct investment (FDI).”
He said such border management initiatives are also inclined to checking cross border crimes while enhancing national security.
The Minister disclosed this at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division, and the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) on Integrated Border Management and inauguration of a fourteen-member technical committee drawn from the two agencies.
The MoU has become necessary following persistent conflicts and tension between the two border agencies in the absence of standard operating procedures (SOP) affecting international movement of persons, goods and services.
Ofori-Atta believes the Integrated Border Management approach would propel a robust border security management in the country and allow for the pulling of resources and sharing of information by the two agencies.
Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr Kofi Nti wondered why there was conflict between the two institutions if they had the common national interest to serve calling on personnel to eschew personal interests in the discharge of their duties.
Nti however expressed appreciation for the efforts made so far to coordinate and work together in the national interest and called on other agencies at the various borders to be part of the team.
The Commissioner of the Customs Division, Mr Isaac Crentsil and the Comptroller-General of the GIS, Kwame Asuah Takyi, were unanimous that the signing of the MoU marked a paradigm shift in border security in Ghana.
They also shared the view that it served an end to the individual and uncoordinated operations by different border agencies culminating in the duplication of functions, waste of resources and intermittent animosity.
As part of the MoU, the two agencies are expected to perform joint patrols and training, joint use and access to operational equipment, share residential and office accommodation, amongst others.
By Godfred Tawiah Gogo