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Business News of Saturday, 4 November 2017

Source: thefinderonline.com

1.2 million Pay taxes to cater for 27 million Ghanaians

The Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti, is appealing to Ghanaians to furnish GRA with relevant information about various business activities in their vicinities, to enable the national revenue collection agency draw such business operators into the tax net.

According to him, even though many Ghanaians are engaged in income-earning activities, especially in the informal sector, only about 1.2 million are registered for tax purposes.

Out of the number, he explained, 1 million are in the formal sector, leaving about 200,000 in the informal sector.

He assured that apart from being rewarded with a percentage of the tax recovered from such payments, GRA will keep the identities of ‘whistle blowers’ confidential.

“It is our hope that with the co-operation of the public, GRA will from now be in a position to increase revenue collection to appreciable levels to considerably reduce Ghana’s dependence on foreign aid,” he noted.

He was disappointed that despite the fact that people in the informal sector constitute the majority of Ghanaians, many of them are left out of the tax bracket, resulting in the government not making a lot of revenue for its social intervention programmes.

The acting Commissioner-General noted that “the contribution of the informal sector to total tax revenue remained below 5%, and this obviously creates a huge gap in the national kitty.”

“While those of us at GRA concede that it is our ultimate responsibility to reach as many Ghanaians as possible, it is also an undeniable fact that all income-earning citizens must become alive to their civic responsibilities,” he pointed.

Kofi Nti was speaking at the launch of GRA’s new campaign aimed at increasing voluntary tax compliance of tax obligations by the citizenry. The objective of the national tax campaign is to engage as many potential taxpayers as possible and encourage them to comply with their tax obligations voluntarily to increase revenue generation.

The campaign, dubbed ‘Our Taxes, Our Future’, is expected to run for the next four weeks and will witness a series of activities geared towards encouraging people to pay their taxes for more developmental projects.

He stated that some of the slogans were developed in line with the campaign, which he hopes will yield positive response from Ghanaians. Some of the slogans include “Taxpayers-Nation builders”, “I have paid my taxes, have you?”, “Every little tax helps”, and “Taxes help build great nations.”

He was confident that the successful implementation of the programme will result in greater tax compliance and will increase the awareness on the need to embark on this necessary civic education.

The nationwide campaign is being supported by the National Commission for Civic Education and the Information Services Department (NCCE).

NCCE Deputy Commissioner, Kathleen Addy stressed on the relevance of the collaboration between the two institutions in the information and awareness creation campaign on tax compliance, and urged other state institutions to partner her outfit in civic education and awareness creation activities.

“The NCCE as a collaborating partner has been engaged to carry out intensive education on tax compliance utilising our capacity to fulfil this mandate. The GRA-NCCE partnership has come to stay, and as a constitutional body, the NCCE will strive to ensure that citizens fulfil their civic duty by honestly declaring their taxes,” she said.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who launched the campaign, expressed government's commitment to ensuring that taxes paid by Ghanaians are utilised judiciously to the benefit of all.

He hinted that conversations will begin to challenge foreign resident visitors who have been in Ghana over than 10 years and making livelihoods, and demand from them certain amount of tax response to build the country.

The campaign launch was graced by institutions and professional bodies such as the Institute of Public Relations Ghana, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), Bishops’ Conference and Chattered Institute of Taxation - Ghana, as well as donor partners.