GRA Charged To Exceed Target For 2013

MANAGEMENTS OF the country’s revenue collection agencies have been charged to adopt more innovative means of roping in businesses into the tax net in order to help achieve this year’s revenue target of GHc15.6 billion and possibly exceed it.

The authority has further been charged to increase the informal tax net recovery from the current 5% to 10% for the 2013 fiscal year, in order to help boost Ghana’s revenue and ensure waste reduction in tax collection.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Tekper, who made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the 2013 Retreat Programme organized by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in Kumasi, observed that though the year 2013 presents a number of challenges to businesses, including the recent power crisis which is likely to affect profit output, he still expects the GRA to find modern means of roping in the informal sector to help achieve the revenue target for 2013.

While commending the authority for its outstanding performance in 2012, which saw it exceeding the target by 2.6%, Mr. Tekper said the country would expect even better performance from staff of the authority as a result of the increase in government expenditure and high demands from the public sector.

The Finance Minister noted that as it stands now, revenue from the informal sector was woefully inadequate; stressing therefore those efforts must be made by the GRA to rope in all the potential taxpayers in the informal sector.

‘It is estimated that out of a population of 24 million Ghanaians, only about 1.5 million people pay direct taxes and 5% of this is from the informal sector: this situation is unacceptable,’ he emphasized.

Mr. Tekper observed that since the informal sector controls about 70% of the economy, it is pertinent that practical measures are put in place to plug all the loopholes and prevent leakages in the tax system.

The Minister, therefore, observed that it was for this reason that he finds the theme for this year’s seminar : ‘Implementation of the GRA 3-Year Modernization Plan (2012-2014) Accomplishments, Challenges and Interventions for the Way Forward’, an appropriate one that will enable participants deliberate and find solutions to the major challenges confronting revenue collection system in the country.

He expressed the hope that by the end of the seminar, participants would find answers to pertinent questions such as what successes have GRA chalked since the implementation of the modernization plan, how much of procedures and processes, especially for domestic tax revenue has been modernized, has the GRA been able to considerably improve services to taxpayers amongst other important questions.

Mr. Tekper, therefore, promised government’s continue support in terms of provision of logistics and other incentives to the authority to help facilitate their operations.

The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr. George Blankson, observed that over the years, the integration and modernization process had chalked significant successes including the medium and small taxpayer offices rolled out in Accra and Tema as starting point for the implementation of taxpayer segmentation and functional approach to tax administration.

Mr. Blankson further noted that through the modernization and integration process, the authority was able to ensure the registration of new and re-registration of existing taxpayers and businesses for new TIN and business registration certificate which commenced in the latter part of 2012.

He further cited, amongst other things, the launch of the three-year strategic and modernization, the code of ethics and conduct to guide staff in their professional duties, a self assessment policy document, and the setting up of Debt Management and Compliance Enforcement at the GRA Head Office.

The Commissioner-General noted that in spite of the daunting challenges confronting businesses this year, the authority was bent on working hard to achieve and possibly exceed the target for the fiscal year and called on all participants to work towards achieving the objective.

Pix: GRA Commissioner-General, Mr. George Blankson addressing participants at the seminar