Accra, March 2, GNA – President John Dramani Mahama on Monday gave the assurance that government would pass all the necessary legislations to leverage the performance of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in the subsequent years.
He said:’The health facilities, schools, roads and other infrastructural development we want in this country cannot be achieved without tax collection, and that is why we shall do everything possible to empower you to perform’.
President Mahama made the pledge when filed his tax returns for the 2012 fiscal year, as the President of the Republic of Ghana, at the GRA Headquarters in Accra on Monday.
It is mandatory for salary earners and business operators to pay tax on their earnings and commercial activities, which President Mahama was honouring as a Ghanaian and President of Ghana.
President Mahama said although that was not the first time he had filed his tax returns, he this time decided to make it public to whip up the enthusiasm of people to honour their tax obligations.
He said the passing of legislations would help rope in more people and sectors into the tax net that would subsequently raise the Gross Domestic Product from the current 17 per cent to a higher percentage to enhance Ghana’s chances of becoming a middle income country.
President Mahama appealed to the staff of the GRA to cooperate with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to ensure smooth coordination that could speed up tax collection.
Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner General of GRA, said the harmonization and modernization of the revenue authorities enabled them to collect a total of GHC1.7 billion Cedis as tax last year and hoped that with more modernization procedures they could perform better.
He said the three per cent retention granted by government had weaned GRA from government budgetary allocation, and appealed to government to provide the Authority with a Central Headquarters to enable it to effectively coordinate activities.
Mr. Blankson commended government for providing the GRA with vehicles and other logistics, and appealed for the passing of legislations to enable the body to step up tax collection at all sectors of the economy.
The programme was also attended by Director- Generals of all the revenue collection agencies under the GRA.