Energy crisis to impede 2013 revenue mobilisation

Business News of Sunday, 7 April 2013

Source: Joy Online


Ghana’s domestic revenue mobilisation in 2013 would be challenged by the energy crisis currently being experienced by the country.

The tax paying ability of businesses would be negatively impacted by the poor power supply which is negatively affecting production and profit levels.

The concern is collectively shared by Finance and Economic Planning Minister, Seth Terkper and the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), George Blankson.

They however expect management and staff of the GRA to defy the challenging environment to “dig deep into your reservoir of experience and knowhow of the tax environment to deliver the goods”. The GRA exceeded its 2012 target by 2.6 percent, collecting total revenue of GH¢11.7million, a record 34.70 percent rise over the previous year’s figure.

The revenue collection target for 2013 is GH¢15.6million. To meet the set target, the Authority has been tasked to devise innovative ways of getting majority of players in the informal sector on board the taxpaying vehicle, whilst plugging loopholes to prevent leakages in the tax system.

An estimated 1.5 million Ghanaians pay direct taxes and only five percent of this taxpaying population is in the informal sector. The Finance Minister says the situation is unacceptable and wants the GRA to double efforts to rope in potential taxpayers from the informal sector.

“Our compatriots in the informal sector continue to be the worst offenders when it comes to tax evasion even though we all agree that the sector controls about 7-percent of the economy; it is therefore pertinent that practical measures are put in place to curb this problem”, stated Mr. Terpker.

According to him, a major performance judgment of the GRA would be its success in increasing the percentage of informal sector taxpayers from the present five percent to double digits. Commissioner-General of the GRA is confident the roll out of the Medium and Small Taxpayer Offices in the regions this year would help rope in majority of the informal businesses.

“The small taxpayers are normally taxpayers in the informal sector; how to identify them and bring them into the tax net, especially those that have been operating outside the radar of the tax authority, require special skills which the tax officers of the Small Taxpayer Offices would be specially trained to carry out”, Mr. Blankson said.

Board Chair of the GRA, Ernest Kwesie, says collaborations with the government would be intensified to equip staff with needed logistics, resources and motivation to work better. The GRA has been holding its 2013 Management Retreat in Kumasi on the theme: “Implementation of the GRA 3-Year Modernisation Plan (2012-2014): Accomplishments, Challenges and Interventions for the Way Forward”.

The Authority is taking a critical look at performance, three years into the establishment of the GRA and two years into the implementation of the strategic and modernisation plans as well as the blueprint for the revenue administration reform agenda.