The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has launched a national tax campaign dubbed ‘OurTaxesOurFuture’ an awake up call to all Ghanaians to honour their tax obligations for the development of the nation.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the acting Commissioner-General of GRA, said the tax campaign was aimed at increasing awareness among Ghanaians on tax issues, to enhance their understanding and to appreciate the importance of taxes and the benefits to national development.
Mr Nti revealed that even though many Ghanaians are engaged in income earning activities, especially in the informal sector, only 1.2 million people are registered for tax purposes. Out of this number, about 1 million are in the formal sector, leaving only about 200, 000 in the informal sector.
He said, the result of this situation is that for a long time the contribution of the informal sector to total tax revenue has remained below five per cent.
He however noted that, what GRA picks for the informal sector is below 2%. This is in spite of the fact that the economy is dominated by the informal sector which obviously creates a huge gap in the national kitty therefore there is the urgent need to reverse this disturbing situation.
‘’Bring as many people as we can to the tax net and help bridge the gap between public expenditures and revenues”. This is a huge task, which calls for the involvement of all Ghanaians he added.
‘’Why we at GRA think it is our ultimate responsibility to reach many Ghanaians as possible, it is also an undeniable fact that, all income earning citizens must be prepared to perform their civic responsibilities.
‘’In the same way we enjoy the infrastructure and amenities provided by the state, we must also be equally prepared to contribute to the national bills from which such amenities are provided.
Mr Nti noted that, the ultimate goal of this campaign is to increase voluntary compliance thereby increase revenue collection in the country.
‘’In the sub-Sahara region that we are part of, the tax dp ratio is 20% and we are 16.7%’’.
The GRA boss said, since tax mobilisation is a shared responsibility between citizens and the tax administration, GRA will be collaborating with organisations such as the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Information Service Department (ISD) and the media to execute the campaign.
He Pleaded to Ghanaians to equip GRA with relevant information about various business activities in their vicinity to enable the GRA to bring those business operators into the tax net.
Mr Nti added that, apart from being rewarded a percentage of the tax recovered from such payments, the identities of the citizens would be kept confidential.
He further added that, the campaign will include stakeholder engagements, dawn broadcasts, social media activities, consistent media announcements, community outreach programmes and compliance and enforcement activities by GRA, among others.
“It is my hope that with the cooperation 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 said.
The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, who launched the campaign, urged Ghanaians to fulfil their tax obligations to support government to meet its commitment of providing public goods such as education, health, security, good roads among others.
The Minister indicated that, it is also time for the government to severely sanction any individual or organisation who evades tax in the country.
By: Latifa Carlos