Spokesperson for the Presidential Revenue Mobilization Taskforce, Dr. Clement Apaak, has rejected claims that the work of the taskforce is a duplication of that of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) under the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
According to him, the primary function of the taskforce, which is headed by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, is to identify and plug loopholes in the revenue mobilization system as well as retrieve unpaid revenue due the state.
The work of the unit established at the Presidency, has been criticized by exporters and importers, who say, the role members of the taskforce play, is the core function of the personnel of CEPS and officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA).
But speaking on the Super Morning Show, Friday, Dr. Apaak said the Presidential Revenue Mobilization Taskforce works in collaboration with existing state revenue collection agencies.
“We are not taking over CEPS’ job…we enhance, we facilitate, we promote…and even prosecute [tax evaders],” he told Kojo Yankson, host of the Joy FM Super Morning Show.
He said revenue loss to the state through tax evasion and other dubious means is enormous such that less than 5% of the import revenue projection is actually realized, while the chunk of the monies collected go into individual pockets.
Dr. Apaak further maintained that the unit will ensure whatever revenue is due government, goes into its coffers.
“We are government [and] whatever we do that will serve the interest of mother Ghana, we will do,” he stressed.
In a related development, the Importers and Exporters Association, which first raised concerns over the mode of operation of the taskforce, has backed down on its threat to sue the taskforce for entering into the premises of businesses without a court order.
Samson Awingobit Asarki, Executive Secretary of the Association, who earlier gave a May 2, 2014 ultimatum for the taskforce to be disbanded said, they have decided to use available options to seek redress, adding, “…until we fail all those things then we can look at the court option”.
Meanwhile, a freight forwarder, Jacob Agyeman, who also contributed to the discussions on the Show, grumbled over the huge costs importers incur in clearing goods from the ports, as a result of the work of the taskforce.
He said importers have no choice but to pass those costs on to the consumers in order to save their businesses from collapsing.
“…Our actions or inactions in one way or the other, will cost the price of goods on the market,” he cautioned.
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