Executives and the entire members of Ghana Revenue Authority Workers Union (GRAWU) have been tasked to collectively commit to plugging all revenue leakages to generate enough funds to support Government’s development agenda.
Ken Ofori Atta, Finance Minister made the call in a speech delivered on his behalf by. Mr. Daniel Nuer, Head of Tax Unit of the Ministry of Finance at a ceremony to commence the Second Delegates Congress of GRAWU at Winneba.
The three-day event is on the theme “Widening the Tax Net to Achieve Ghana Beyond Aid-The Role of Labour”.
According to Mr. Ofori Atta the success or failure of the President’s vision for ‘Ghana beyond Aid’, largely depended on the performance of revenue mobilisation agencies.
It was for this reason that he charged the Union to be mindful of its responsibility as it reviewed its activities and planned for the future to consider the growth of Ghana as a nation and not only the welfare of its members.
“For three consecutive years, GRA has failed to meet set revenue targets, which has resulted in a cumulative shortfall of GH¢4,894.64 million, and this is a great concern, especially as the country had to resort to borrowing and also in some instances cut expenditure in order to make up for these shortfalls”.
The Minister announced that Ghana’s Tax-to-GDP ratio hovered around 13.1 percent, while the average for other lower middle income countries was 20 percent, and Customs revenue, which was expected to grow by 27.7 percent in 2018, grew by an abysmal 3.9 percent.
“Ghana averaged a Vat C-efficiency ratio which is calculated as the ratio of VAT revenue to consumption divided by the standard rate of 0.30 over the period 2015 – 2017, which is below the average for lower middle-income countries of 0.46 and below the 0.38 average of lower income countries”.
He expressed concerns that, the recent IMF study on the average for some selected African countries was 0.35, which was still above Ghana’s average and added that, the figures gave the indication that the country had the potential for growth.
Mr Ofori Atta said in the 2019 budget statement, government indicated that revenue mobilisation strategies would focus on reforming revenue institutions, intensifying compliance measures, and continue broadening tax net.
Government, he stated, was therefore challenging the GRA to hit a Tax-to-GDP ratio of 15 percent instead of the estimated 13.9 percent for 2019.
He said it was the intention of the government to move from administrative penalties to prosecution of tax evaders of which prosecution would be levelled at specific crimes including; under valuation of import values, ex-warehousing of import without payment of the required customs duties, Non-issuance of Vat receipts and Diversion of transit goods.
Mr Ofori Atta said the negative acts thrived only when GRA staff colluded and connived with taxpayers or turned blind eyes and neglected their duties and warned that the Government would not spare both GRA Staff and taxpayers found culpable.
Neenyi Ghartey VII, Paramount Chief of Effutu Traditional area who chaired the ceremony expressed the hope that the Union would be more committed at improving revenue mobilisation efforts.