US Customs and Ghana Revenue Authority sign MoU


The United States Customs and Border Protection and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which would see the two institutions exchange customs expertise.

The MoU was signed by the visiting Commissioner of the US Customs and Border Protection, Mr Gil Kerlikowske on behalf of the United States and Mr John Vianney Kuudamnuru, Commissioner of the Customs Division of the GRA for Ghana.

The signing builds on the existing partnership between the two agencies, which has culminated in more than 100 Ghanaian border patrol personnel being trained by their US counterparts in 2016.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, part of activities during his two-day tour of Ghana, Mr Kerlikowske said the MoU would provide a framework on which to further strengthen the partnership with Ghana.

“This memorandum of understanding is particularly helpful in many ways for continuing what is a robust and important trade relationship between two customs authorities” he stated, adding it would also support other efforts that were just as important to both the governments of Ghana and the United States.

These efforts include anti-narcotics, combating human trafficking, and smuggling of hazardous materials.

He noted that the signing of the MoU, not only provided a strong foundation to continue building the capacity of Ghanaian officials, but also for officials of the US to gain new insights, information and knowledge.

The MoU also provides a framework for the implementation of the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), initiated by the US in 2014 and which provides assistance to Ghana and five other West African Nations in several areas.

In Ghana these areas include cyber security and cybercrime, maritime security and land border management challenges.

The MoU thus allows the US Customs and Border Protection to assist its Ghanaian counterpart in the area of border security and integrated border management over the next three years.

“We’re going to provide technical assistance, capacity building, some of the lessons that we have learned and some of our best practices in this important joint cooperation, and we expect to deploy an advisor to be able to assist in many of these areas.”

The MoU would work seamlessly to ensure safety and security for both nations.

Interacting with the media at a roundtable following the signing ceremony, Mr Kerlikowske said his outfit would liaise with the GRA to identify the specific areas where the assistance would be needed and then proceed from there.

He expressed the importance of information sharing among the two agencies, especially in light of the inherent difficulty in defining and securing borders.

“Borders are very hard to secure and nobody has a good definition of what’s a secure border; that’s why sharing information between countries about people or goods that may be a threat is a huge step forward in making either countries safer” he noted.

Mr Kuudamnuru, noted that the US Customs administration, and other US Agencies, had already provided numerous capacity building and training programmes to the GRA, during its long-standing partnership.

“The two administrations have also exchanged critical intelligence and logistical support as part of the global effort to stem the ever-increasing menace of international narcotics drug trade and trafficking,” he noted.

He said the signing of the MoU concretised the existing efforts of the two customs administrations and committed both parties to share customs expertise in narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, smuggling of hazardous materials, capacity building and technical assistance and other areas of interest to both parties.

GNA

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