Business News of Saturday, 18 February 2017
Outgoing Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr George Blankson, has handed over to a new GRA boss, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, a Tax Policy Advisor.
After seven years of heading the tax administration body in Ghana following the integration and modernisation of the three main revenue agencies in December 2009, Mr Blankson bowed out yesterday with a colourful ceremony in his honour.
The hand-over ceremony, which is the first-ever for the transition of power since the establishment of the authority, saw the staff and management of the GRA paying glowing tribute to the outgoing Commissioner-General.
Representatives of the various departments and units of the authority presented citations and gifts to Mr Blankson and his wife while the leaders of the organised group of the GRA praised Mr Blankson for improving the welfare of the staff during his tenure of office.
To signify Mr Blankson’s exit, personnel of the Custom’s Division of the GRA accompanied him as he stood in a pickup and waved to the cheering staff and some friends and family members who had come to witness the event amid brass band music.
Delivering a speech on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Tax Policy Advisor to the Minister,?Mr?Edward Larbi Siaw, commended the outgoing Commissioner-General for working tirelessly to improve revenue mobilisation.
“Three years after resuming office as the Commissioner-General of the newly formed authority, he doubled revenue for the state and that was very tremendous,” he said.
He urged Mr Nti to work hard to improve revenue mobilisation and the fortunes of the authority.
In his speech, Mr Blankson said he had the hope that revenue mobilisation would grow at an increased rate and show a positive outlook in the years ahead due to the commitment of the government and the current Minister of Finance.
Additionally, he said the management of the GRA had the capacity to hold high the torch of change and dedication to reform revenue adminstration to enhance tax administration in the coming years.
Mr Blankson appealed to the staff and management of the GRA to support the new Commissioner-General, saying “there is only one Commissioner-General at a time and one captain in the ship. Let us all put our shoulders to the wheel and ensure success.”
For his part, Mr Nti emphasised the importance of revenue mobilisation to the development of the economy, saying “without revenue, socio-economic development cannot be achieved.”
He urged the personnel to work together as a team and not as members of individual departments and units under the authority.
“We must work as a team with a focus to make the country better, not as staff of the value added tax unit, customs or any other unit,” he said, and indicated that staff of the various divisions could be moved to other divisions where their expertise were required.
Mr Nti entreated the personnel of the authority to work hard to raise the revenue due the state, saying “when you work hard, the data will show. I will be marked on whether I raise revenue and you must help me raise revenue.”
The GRA was formed in December 2009 under the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 791.
That led to the integration of four government revenue agencies; namely the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Valued Added Tax (VAT) Service, the Customs Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board
After incorporating the structure and personnel of the four organisations, the position of the Commissioner-General was introduced as the chief executive officer of the authority.
Profile of Mr Nti
Mr Kofi Nti is a banker, economist, statistician, accountant and tax expert with experience spanning over 30 years.
He holds a combined Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Ghana and a combined Master’s degree in Economic and Financial Forecasting from the London Metropolitan University.
He is a Fellow of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Ghana; Fellow of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA); United Kingdom, and Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana.
He started his career as an economist with the Bank of Ghana where he worked in the Development Finance, Rural Banking, Banking Supervision and the Treasury departments.
Mr Nti left the central bank as the Head of the Treasury Information Statistics Office (TISO) of the Treasury Department where his work involved collaborating extensively with the Research Department, reporting on the foreign currency denominated receipts and payments through the central bank, the Open Position of Banks, and the central bank’s cash flow.
He was the first Secretary of the Foreign Exchange Reserve Management Committee that managed the central bank’s investments and reserves.