General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017
It has emerged from preliminary investigation conducted by the Ashanti regional coordinating council and the office of the Public Sector Reforms that the operations of tax officers at Krofrom Small Tax Payers’ Office within Manhyia North constituency in Ashanti region is riddled with a high level of corruption to the core.
Documents sighted by the Ashanti regional Minister Hon Simeon Osei-Mensah and the Chief Executive Officer of Public Sector Reforms, Mr. Kusi Boafo during an unannounced visits paid at the above named local offices of the Ghana revenue Authority brought to bare that the 2017 Tax assessment figures covering over 240 traders falling within their jurisdiction are almost 100% or above over that of 2016.
A cursory observation into figures from 2013 to 2017 by aforementioned authorities during the ambush visits revealed that a higher percentage of recorded tax figures do not conform to the normal trend.
Per the records, a tax payment of GH¢ 352.50 made in the year 2016 by a trader called Juliet Owusu Sekyere rose to GH ¢1,200.00 this year 2017 representing a percentage increase of 240.9%.
Records covering another by name Agatha Sarpong recorded GH¢ 300.00 for year 2013, GH¢ 390.00 for year 2014, GH¢ 507.00 for year 2015, GH¢ 450.00 for year 2016, witnessing an astronomic rise of GH¢ 1,200.00 for this year 2017, representing a percentage increase of 166.67%.
The Ashanti regional Minister Hon Simeon Osei Mensah indicated during a press briefing that there are instances where increases are 300% and above making the tax assessment figures captured by officials of Krofrom Tax Payers office abnormal and totally unacceptable challenging that the current government will not “ sanction such astronomical increases in taxes”
This investigative move conducted by the regional minister and C.E.O of Public Sector Reforms came about after several complaints were made a month ago by traders who had their shops locked up due to their failure to make payment of assessed taxes which to them was abnormal.
According to the regional minister, the foregoing was a top up to previous agitations and protests by traders over astronomical increases in taxes and duties charged by the Ghana Revenue Authority, specifically the Internal Revenue and Customs Division.
“ The possible reason for the actions of the Krofrom Small Tax Payers Office is a pure concoction of inefficiency, incompetence and corruption” he stated.
He has therefore ordered the tax officers to unlock stores of affected traders until the matter is fully investigated and a finality is brought to it.
He again called on traders to make a payment amount equivalent to last year’s tax assessment figures until 2017 tax assessment problems are resolved.