Tamale, Jan. 28, GNA- The Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in the Northern Region, last year collected over 98.9 billion cedis as revenue, exceeding its target of 78.3 billion cedis by 20.6 billion cedis representing an increase of 26.4 per cent. Mr Ernest Frimpong-Nuamah, Northern Region Sector Commander of the Service, on Thursday announced this at an end-of-year get-together and awards night for the staff of CEPS, in Tamale.
He attributed the sector's achievement to the hard work of the staff and the educational campaigns carried out by the Service on the local FM stations in the Tamale Metropolis on the need to pay taxes. He said the challenges facing the Service in its revenue collection for this year "are enormous and herculean" because of the changes that had occurred within their revenue generating sources.
Mr Frimpong-Nuamah who is also Assistant Commissioner of CEPS, said available statistics indicate that the last quarter of 2005 witnessed a marked decline in revenue collection, mainly as a result of the decline in petroleum revenue from the Buipe depot.
Mr Frimpong-Nuamah explained that previously, the lifting of petroleum products at the depot to the Upper East Region was mainly done at the Buipe depot, but now as a result of the direct pipelines to the Upper East Region, the Northern Sector had now lost some of its revenue to the Upper East Region.
He said another problem facing the sector was the raising of the annual revenue target from 78.3 billion cedis to 82.1 billion cedis, an increase of nearly four billion cedis.
Mr Frimpong-Nuamah cautioned the CEPS officers, particularly those at the borders against sexual promiscuity to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS. Maj-Gen Richardson E. Baiden, the CEPS Commissioner, in a New Year message, said a modern, efficient and transparent Customs Service was key to the government's efforts towards integrating closely with the world economy and acceding to the World Trade Organisation's initiatives and protocols.
He said in this regard, CEPS needed to devise new ways of balancing their traditional role of control and revenue collection with trade facilitation and security.
Maj-Gen Baiden said for this year, the Service would give priority to some key areas including; preventive, compliance and enforcement, human resource development, information technology infrastructure expansion, management systems and strategic plan implementation.
Maj-Gen. Baiden said CEPS Management would continue to work meticulously towards the creation of a new image for the Service, adding: "We need to build a broad consensus in order to obtain a multi-functional commitment to the implementation of our strategic objectives in the coming year".
Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Northern Regional Minister, cautioned CEPS personnel against colluding with smugglers to evade tax on the goods they import into the country.
He reminded them that it was the taxes they generated that were used to provide social facilities such as water, electricity and roads, as well as for the general development of the country.
The Regional Minister appealed to the public to cooperate with the revenue collection agencies by reporting the activities of smugglers to them.
Mr William H. O. Annan, who was adjudged the "Best Senior Collector," received a certificate and a parcel while Mr Francis Nsor took home a similar prize as the "Best Junior Collector".
The Yendi Station of CEPS, which was adjudged the best improved Station for the last year, received a parcel, a certificate and an undisclosed amount of money.