Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Thursday tasked the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to delve deep into its wealth of experience as revenue administrator to come out with innovative initiatives and measures to mobilize the needed revenue for the nation.
He said now that Ghana is classified as a lower middle income country, donor support had dwindled considerably, therefore there is the need for GRA to garner domestic resources of income to fast-track the development efforts of the country.
He, therefore, entreated the management and staff of GRA to think outside the box to come out with new ideas that would enable the GRA to achieve set revenue targets, in order to accelerate national development.
Mr. Terkper made these remarks in a speech read for him by Dr. Larbi Siaw, a Tax Policy Advisor to the Finance Minister, at the opening ceremony of a three-day Annual Management Retreat of the GRA in Takoradi, to review last year’s performance and strategise to improve on service delivery this year.
The event was held on the theme,”Exceeding a Challenging Revenue Target in 2014: Strategies for Enhanced Efficiency and Effectiveness in Revenue Mobilization.”
Mr. Terkper noted that 2013 was a challenging year for the country in view of international happenings that had adverse effects on the national economy, hence the need to re-strategise to meet revenue target this year.
“In the light of the very competing and legitimate demands from all sectors of the economy, GRA must dig deep into its arsenal of compliance measures and procedures in your collection efforts to achieve the set targets”, he stressed.
He reiterated President John Mahama’s call for domestic production and consumption of locally made goods, therefore domestic revenue generation must not be lost on them.
He urged them to rope in the informal sector operators, the semi-formal and formal sectors that are evading tax, adding that GRA must ensure that the many compliance measures and procedures are strictly adhered to and applied fairly and firmly.
To this end, Mr. Terkper pledged government’s determination to provide all the necessary resources and logistics to the Authority for effective execution of its mandate.
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr. George Blankson, said the GRA had targeted 41.9 percent revenue collection this year, which is above last year’s revenue collections of over 30 percent.
Last year, he said, was a challenging one for revenue mobilization in the country, which was a reflection of the general challenges faced by the national economy.
He expressed optimism that some innovations and tax reforms instituted by government, as well as the integration of office functions of the GRA, would come to fruition and contribute meaningfully towards meeting the revenue target this year.
He urged management and staff of GRA to remain focused, dedicated and committed in their bid to increase revenue collection for the country.