Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has called for a “heavy-handed” approach to tax collection as government seeks to bolster domestic revenue mobilisation to be the anchor of its fiscal policy to facilitate economic and social prosperity.
Inaugurating the newly-formed board of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), he indicated: We need radical change in revenue administration with the urgent need to address inefficiencies, corruption and the prevailing culture of the agency.
“Fiscal slippages resulting from the poor performance of revenue mobilisation have led to unsustainable budget deficit levels at a time that we need to sustain investments in key sectors of the economy,” the speech read by the deputy Finance Minister, Kweku Kwarteng, said.
According to Mr. Ofori-Atta it has become very critical for government to tighten domestic revenue generation following the numerous tax reliefs to businesses on the back of dwindling donor aid to the country.
In that regard, he said his outfit will among others undertake tax administration reforms, improve tax compliance through data matching as well as improve transfer pricing audits and introduce electronic point of sale devices (POS) to curb tax evasion.
Also, to tighten avenues for under-invoicing and smuggling, government will soon commence full implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873), improve controls on exemptions and conduct structured post clearance audit.
Mr. Ofori-Atta was very particular about the country’s ports and operations of Customs where the country loses billions of cedis and urged the new GRA boss to help sanitise the port industry.
This must be the most difficult board because of the pressure we might bring to bear and the dangers that are wrought with Customs and the ports. The test of government’s mettle will be how serious we can get with revenue collection by dealing with corruption.
“You will have to clean up the Augean stables; you have the presidency and the finance ministry behind you; and you will have to be aggressive. You will have to be heavy-handed but within the law.”
Board chairman, Harry Owusu, commended government for the trust and pledged to mobilise revenue to meet set targets and government development agenda.
He said the board will live up to the mandate and called for full cooperation and support of the Ministry to be able to deliver on their mandate.