Towards effective anti-smuggling operations in the customs, excise and preventive service: a case study of Aflao collection

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This study evaluates the effectiveness of anti-smuggling activities of taskforces of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) in the Aflao Collection and establishes that the absence of such activities would adversely affect revenue collection in the area. Thus it is established that, in the absence of any form of compulsion or anti-smuggling operations, importers would not at all pay any duties and taxes on their own accord. However in the situation where anti- smuggling activities are carried out, a unit increase in the CIF value of goods intercepted causes an increase of 11.6 units in the CIF value of goods entered voluntarily for assessment and payment of duties and taxes. Other relevant findings were made in respect of the strengths and weaknesses of CEPS. The study further identifies three major types of smuggling in the collection, first smuggling in very small quantities, second smuggling in bulk into Ghana, and third smuggling of petroleum products out of the country and discusses the various modes of operation by smugglers and modes of transportation L e. road, river way, and sea. Our findings in respect of the anti-smuggling activities were arrived at through analysis of statistical data of the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CJF) values of goods which have been intercepted through anti-smuggling activities and those of goods which have been voluntarily entered for assessment and payment of duties and taxes available for the past four years. Using the single regression method (SPSS computer software), we established a positive correlation between the CIF of the two variables above. Data used for qualitative analysis were obtained through surveys. Heads of stations and other staff of CEPS-Aflao Collection were interviewed. Members of the public both, smugglers and non-smugglers, in sixty-four towns and village communities within the Aflao Collection area were also interviewed. In addition participant and non-participant observatory methods were employed using surrogates as agent-provocateurs to act in various pretentious capacities, the researcher himself who is service personnel on attachment, recorded pertinent observations. Questionnaires were also administered to various groups of CEPS officials to help assess the effectiveness of the various anti-smuggling measures. In addition, the investigative technique of taking autobiographical accounts of used-to-be smugglers was adopted to elicit information on the mode of operation of present day smugglers. Finally, records, official documents of CERS’ and reports of the investigations branch of CEPS Aflao, were studied. The study reaches a number of conclusions on the basis of which it makes recommendations for improving the work of EPS anti-smuggling taskforces. First, issues plaguing the anti- smuggling drive should be addressed; these include lack of personnel, lack of equipment, long working hours, poor working environment, inadequacies of the current informant award scheme, and limited human resources training. (i the basis of these findings, it is recommended that CEPS commits more men to patrol the frontier, provides equipment suitable for the terrain for use by taskforces, and considerably improves conditions under which CEPS officials work The current informant‘s awards scheme should be revised to address relevant issues, an information management system should be put in place, and training programs should be drawn to address specific problems, among others. The study establishes the need for intensification of anti-smuggling taskforce activities. The use of the taskforce system can be viewed as a violation of the World Trade Organisation ‘s guidelines and the Gateway project of Ghana’s vision 2020 document, both of which insist on free and unimpeded flow of trade. The WTO further requires that CEPS moves away from its traditional fill-scale (100%) examination of imported goods to about 20%. However, given the current state of affairs a blanket adoption of this W.T.O. guideline would not be in the interest of the Aflao Collection of CEPS and hence Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Economics and Industrial Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree in Industrial Management, 2002