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Business News of Monday, 25 July 2011

Source: GNA

GRA sees 12.1 per cent jump in half-year revenue

Accra, July 25, GNA - Ghana Revenue Authority said on Monday it recorded a 12.1 per cent jump in half-year revenue for 2011 to GH¢3.9 billion compared with GH¢3.5 billion for the same period last year.

Speaking at a press conference Mr George Blankson, Commissioner General of GRA, was upbeat the revenue target set for the year would be attained. The government had set an initial target of GH¢7.2 billion in the 2011 budget but this was recently reviewed up to GH¢7.5 billion. The target does not include oil revenue from upstream activities.

"It is the expectation of management that through effective and efficient supervision by managers, and with the co-operation of the media, the GRA will exceed the revenue target for 2011," he said.

The GRA press briefing centred on revenue performance, current status and challenges of the integration and modernization process of the revenue agencies and expectations of revenue inflows for the last six months of the year.

Mr Blankson said the GRA would step up its revenue mobilization effort= s in the remaining months of 2011 to ensure greater efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.

He said management would focus on areas such as the collection of self-employed income tax, the warehousing regime, transit regime, temporary importation of vehicles and debt management, to shore up revenue. In addition, there would be sustained tax education for all taxpayers to ensure voluntary compliance, effective implementation of enforcement and compliance measures, effective monitoring of permits and quick examination of submitted returns.

Mr Blankson said a rapid deployment force had also been put in place and was currently undergoing training to ensure effective tracking and interception of smuggled goods.

On integration of the revenue agencies, the Commissioner General said this was on course with the establishment of the divisions and the various departments being headed by Deputy Commissioners.

He said an important aspect of the reform involved pooling together into a Tax Administration Act all the administrative provisions in the customs, VAT and income Tax laws and re-crafting the residual provisions into separate charging Act for Income Tax, VAT and customs.

In this direction, he said, a separate Value Added Tax bill had been crafted, gazetted and submitted to Parliament while work was currently goin= g on new VAT regulations as well the final draft of the Tax Administration Act. Also, work on the Internal Revenue Act had begun and terms of referenc= e developed for the Customs law. Mr Blankson said a key element of the reform process was the integration of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) offices comprising the erstwhile Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to enhance tax payer convenience and also enable the staff to discharge their duties under the DTRD more effectively.

"This involves merging offices by co-locating staff of these erstwhile Revenue Agencies, movement of files of taxpayers, training of staff to perform on their schedules etc," he said, adding that the Commission had identified nine offices within the Accra-Tema metropolis to serve as pilot sites for integration of DTRD offices.

Mr Blankson said effective from the last quarter of 2011, the first pilot Office on the Spintex road would be opened while others at Adabraka, Tema, Agbogbloshie, among others, would be opened towards the end of the year.

The DTRD offices would also allow for the segmentation of taxpayers into large, medium and small.

Institutions with annual turnover of GH¢5 million and above as well as specialist industries, no matter the turnover, would be among the Large Taxpayers, with companies with turnover above GH¢90,000 but below GH¢5 million would in the medium category while the small taxpayers would includ= e those with annual turnover of GH¢90,000 and below.

Mr Blankson said new taxpayer identification numbers would be issued t= o registered businesses and individuals to ensure effective linkage of the GR= A with the Registrar-General's Department.