General News of Thursday, 4 July 2013
Former Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, has described President Mahama’s government as “confused and unserious” for appointing special taskforce on revenue collection headed by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani.
The taskforce was established by President Mahama to streamline and monitor some perceived underhand dealings within the revenue collection agencies in the country.
But Dr. Akoto Osei said if the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) could not handle the affairs of revenue collections in the country then the appointment of the chief of staff is a waste of time.
“Appointing the chief of staff to head special taskforce on revenue collection is a joke,” Dr. Akoto asserted.
The former minister of State at the finance ministry was speaking Wednesday on Adom FM’s “Burning Issues” programme, which was also broadcast live on Asempa FM.
He stated that if the GRA needs resources and logistics to execute its mandate, the government must provide them rather than setting up another body to do the work of the GRA.
Dr. Akoto Osei believes the GRA has the skilled personnel to do a better job than the taskforce when given the necessary logistics.
He is therefore urging government to take a critical look at the 2011 Auditor- General’s Report which captured some tax irregularities and deal with the people involve.
The former minister of state said over US$1.3 billion was captured in the 2011 Auditor-General’s Report as having been misappropriated, which needs to be investigated.
Dr. Akoto Osei also noted that the government has failed to manage the energy crisis well and that has resulted in the protracted load shedding the country is facing now, which is impacting businesses negatively and yet government is piling up taxes on those same businesses.
“This is comical,” he said, adding “it is about time we allowed our various institutions to work.”
Dr. Akoto Osei also stated that the new Stabilization Levy and Special Import Levies passed by Parliament will impact the affected businesses badly and eventual impact on the entire populace in the form inflated prices of goods and services.
But the Vice Chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Gabriel Kwadwo Essilfie has described Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei’s argument as speculative, saying that the special import levy wills not necessary affect inflation.
He noted that Ghana’s expenditure is higher than the income the government estimated from all the revenue resources so the Minister of Finance, Mr. Seth Terkper brought it to help government meet its targets.
Mr. Essilfie said Ghanaians always complain about deplorable state of schools, roads, hospitals and more so if Ghanaians pay more taxes, it will help the government provide those facilities.