The Ningo Prampram District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) says citizens should not see corruption on the part of leaders as an excuse for not paying taxes.
“Government wants to increase taxation and before that could be achieved, we have to educate the public to understand why they should pay tax and what the taxes are used for. Is their civic duty to pay taxes irrespective of public perception about corruption,” she said.
Ms. Gifty Agyeiwaa Badu said this on Sunday during the second anniversary of the Peace and Love Ladies Club at Dawenya during which the NCCE educated members of the women’s group on the need to pay tax.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Ms. Badu observed that the exercise was a collaboration between the NCCE and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to undertake community outreach and engagement programmes with economic and other identifiable groups on Tax Compliance issues.
This forms part of a nationwide campaign dubbed: ‘Our Taxes-Our Future’, with activities that were implemented in the months of November and December.
She said as part of the exercise, NCCE would visit faith based organizations, artisan associations, women groups, among others to educate them about the need to pay tax before law enforcement agencies visited them.
He observed that the Ghanaian sense of patriotism was dying because of the perception that taxes were embezzled by leaders.
“That is why we are telling them that this time around when taxes are collected, it will not go into individual pockets; this time around the taxes received will be used for the purpose for which it was collected,” she said.
Ms. Badu observed that her outfit faced a lot of challenges with resources in the discharge of their duties which militated against their work, adding that “a district like Ningo Prampram is large, but we have limited resources. So we visit such groups when they are having their meetings to educate them, which is our own way of meeting the logistical challenges we faced.
She said “if we refused to pay taxes, we bring down the nation” and asked artisans and those in the informal sector to go for the tax stamp which would make them pay taxes on their products before it came on the market.
She advised them to register their businesses and then pay taxes to Ghana Revenue Authority in order to get Tax Identification Pins (TIPs) which was very essential in the processing of many documents.
Madam Bernice Ahatsi, President of the Peace and Love Ladies Club, observed that payment of taxes was difficult for people because most people did not see any benefit for which taxes are paid.
“Someone would not understand why they had to starve themselves to acquire skills and then government would be chasing them for taxes when they start working. And so we are saying that government should let citizens see tangible benefits from the taxes as a way of encouraging people to pay.”
Mr Vincent Ahelegbe, a tailor with the Ghana National Association of Garment Makers, Dawenya Zone, pleaded that if government took taxes from artisans, they should provide them warehouses where they could get items for their work at cheaper prices.
Other artisan groups that attended the programme included Royal Volunteers, Krobo Association, Ghana Hairdressers Association, Gonago Keep Fit Club and Garment Makers.