Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Vitus Azeem is skeptical about the impact the tax returns filed by President John Mahama will have on the citizenry.
According to him, the president’s gesture may not necessarily encourage Ghanaians to be committed to their tax obligations.
President Mahama on Tuesday filed his tax returns for the 2012 fiscal year at the Kimbu office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The gesture was aimed at motivating people to file their tax returns but has been criticized by some people.
Critics argued that President Mahama has breached Article 68(1) of the Constitution which states that “the President shall not, while he continues in office as President hold any other office of profit or emolument whether private or public and whether directly or indirectly.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Wednesday, Vitus Azeem said even though President Mahama’s action is symbolic, there is not a guarantee that people will emulate.
“The president does not pay taxes so it just remains a gesture with the hope that as a leader people will see and copy”.
He said people will be motivated to pay their taxes if the revenue collected will be used to solve the socio-economic crises in the country.
“When you pay taxes, you want to see that the revenues are used to the benefit of Ghanaians. That you can have access to good water, reliable electricity and when you fall sick you can get treatment at the hospital at an affordable price.”
Vitus Azeem said the president is not required to pay taxes as stipulated in the Constitution hence, does not see how his [Mahama’s] gesture will cure tax defaults in the country.