Business News of Monday, 8 April 2013
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has targetted collecting GH¢15,609.50 million in taxes for this year, 2013, after posting a remarkable figure of GH¢11,743.19 million for the 2012 year under review — representing a growth of 34.7% as against the figure collected in 2011.
With this performance, GRA was able exceed its annual target by GH¢300.52 million, representing a 2.6% growth in revenue mobilisation and also achieving a 1.2% increase in the tax to GDP ratio from 16.3% in 2011 to 17.5% in 2012.
This year’s tax revenue targetted to be collected is broken down as follows: GH¢7,439.77 million as domestic direct tax, GH¢2,176.31million as domestic indirect tax and GH¢5,993.42 million for customs.
In his inaugural address at the beginning of a 4-day retreat organised by the GRA in Kumasi, Mr. George Blankson, Commissioner General, GRA, underscored the huge challenge that lies ahead in realising the year’s projected revenue — particularly considering the negative impact on the profit levels of businesses as a result of the present power crisis.
Despite this, however, he appealed strongly to management staff of GRA to tap into their wealth of expertise in the tax environment to put out their maximum best to ‘deliver the goods’.
The implementation of the 3-year GRA modernisation and strategic plans is said to be in its third year. It is in this regard that the Authority is said to have settled on this year’s theme for the retreat ”Implementation of the 3-year modernisation plan (2012-2014); accomplishments, challenges and interventions for the way forward”, to provide the platform for a thorough assessment of work done so far, identify the shortcomings, and come up with pragmatic solutions to advance the pace of the reform process.
Mr. Blankson was of the conviction that the opportunity offered by the retreat will be fully taken advantage of by participants “to do a proper and thorough introspection as a revenue authority three years after establishment to examine their performance and chart the way forward”.
The feat chalked by the country’s tax collection authority has been well-applauded by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, but it has however also challenged GRA to do more to ensure optimum performance three years into its establishment and two years into implementation of the strategic and modernisation plans — the blueprint for the revenue administration reform agenda. The Authority as a strategic national institution is observed to play a key role in the affairs of the state, and therefore Government has promised to continue supporting GRA in whichever way possible in its operations.
Among the numerous activities planned to be undertaken by the GRA this year, it has announced its intention to pursue continuing the re-registration of taxpayers — considered as an essential component of the reform process that began last year; institute capacity building programmes to equip staff with the needed skills to meet the complexities of the modern tax environment; and roll-out the paperless clearance system by the Customs Division in Tema Harbour and other collections, after its being piloted at the Takoradi Harbour.
It also revealed the intention to embark on enhancement of the Custom Division’s Ghana Integrated Cargo Clearance System (GICCS), which provides a one-stop clearance system meant to track the movement of containers from arrival to clearing out of Customs; and the Valuation Assurance Programme to include four (4) more commodities consisting of ceramic tiles, fish, aluminum profiles and fruit juice; and rollout the Enhanced Permit Module, meant to check abuse in the permit-clearance of goods.