Press Review of Thursday, 3 May 2001
The Accra Mail says when the Minister for Finance, Mr Yaw Osafo Maafo returns from the US on Thursday, he would meet an ebullient VAT Secretariat, but with a problem of its own.
One of the tangible gains of the Kufuor administration's 100 days in office is an increase in the revenue intake of the VAT Secretariat according to the Mail which says it has learnt from highly placed sources that the secretariat has already exceeded its projections for the first quarter of the 2001 fiscal year.
Because the figures at his stage are still under confidential wrap, the sources said it would not be tactical to divulge them but they gave around 10% as the percentage increase over the figures of last year at the same time.
The VAT projection in the 2001 budget is 1,739.7 billion cedis representing 4.6% of GDP. Asked about the reasons for such an increase, one of the sources confessed, "You know, the President's zero tolerance for corruption seems to be doing the trick".
The retiring VAT boss, Mr Asamoah himself was not available for comment efforts were made to contact him.
But even with this ebullience, there are grumblings at the VAT headquarters that the imminent imposition of a new head to take over from the present Commissioner, Mr Asamoah, may affect morale and thereby also bring down enthusiasm which no doubt will also affect productivity. The Minister of Finance would have to announce this week a replacement for Mr Asamoah and the name that has come up as a possibility is that of Mr Seth Tekper, a former employee of VAT but now working at the IMF offices in Wahington DC. His name has however raised hackles in the different echelons of the VAT secretariat.