Embrace tax policy measures – Mona Quartey

A Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Mona Helen Quartey, has said that the recent tax policy measures being implemented by the government are relevant for nation building and, therefore, must be embraced by the citizenry.

She indicated that it was not the government’s intention to unduly burden the citizenry with plethora of taxes, but to raise the required revenue to pursue development agenda.

Addressing participants in the 2016 Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) annual management retreat in Ho last Saturday, Mrs Quartey said the government was aware of the difficulties confronting the economy, but having attained low middle-income status, the country had to increasingly look internally to mobilise revenue for development.

The three-day retreat was to enable management of GRA to evaluate their performance for last year and to come up with a strategy to achieve the target for the current year.

The revenue target of the authority for this year stands at GH¢27.59 billion.

Mrs Quartey explained that the difficulties in the system were from external shocks, resulting from low crude oil prices, weak gold and cocoa prices which had both a fiscal and current account impact on the economy.

She, however, said in spite of the cogent reasons for those tax policies aimed to rope in people outside the tax net, the government would take into consideration concerns and criticisms of the public arising from their implementation.

The Deputy Minister of Finance asked the management of GRA to implement measures to address challenges in Ghana’s current tax structure, which affected private sector partners.

She said GRA should factor into its 2016 strategic plan measures for effective revenue mobilisation that would ensure that taxation imposed minimal costs on businesses.

Improvements in tax administration

She said although there had been improvements in tax administration efforts, certain problems still remained and underscored the need for the GRA to effectively team up with the ministry to address certain concerns of the public, especially private sector partners, about the current tax structure to impact positively on businesses and growth of the economy.

Mrs Quartey said that a solution to some of the tax administration challenges was the implementation of the total revenue integrated processing systems (TRIPS) and, therefore, impressed on GRA to use it this year to achieve its revenue target.

She commended GRA for exceeding its target by raking in GH¢22.17 billion against a target of GH¢21.57billion in 2015 representing revenue growth of 29.3 percent over that of 2014.

Strategies

The Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr George Blankson, said though it was a very challenging target to collect revenue, the authority would continue to devote itself to the task through commitment, expertise and effective supervision to again exceed the target.

He mentioned that strategies, including increase in the number of audits, regular external visits and inspection of the taxpayers’ businesses to retrieve outstanding taxes, roping in many operators of the informal sector and the work of the tax force, contributed to it exceeding its target.

Mr Blankson said the review of various tax laws to conform to international best practices, making them less complex and user-friendly, was also part of their achievement.

The Board Chairman of GRA, Mr Ralph Tufour, said the authority would engage taxpayers through tax education to enhance their understanding on tax issues.

He tasked the staff to study the new income tax act well and implement it to generate more revenue for the state.

Credit: Graphic Online