Ghana has produced only 7,867 lawyers since 1877 – GBA president

According to the outgoing President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Anthony Forson, Ghana has produced only  7,867 lawyers between 1877 and May 2021.

Forson revealed this statistic in a speech at the GBA’s Annual General Conference in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region. He added that 4,882 other professionals are in active legal service.

The need to clarify how many are in active legal service in Ghana has arisen over the last few weeks owing to claims by members of the government that lawyers are among a set of professional Ghanaians who evade taxes.

In a radio interview on September 9, Forson said the number of lawyers in the country is just in excess of 3,000 so there is no basis for accusations.

“Unfortunately, a statement was made by the Minister of Finance that over 6,000 lawyers don’t pay tax. That’s very unfortunate because there was no basis for that,” he argued.

“Absolutely false, first of all, we don’t have 6,000 lawyers in Ghana, It’s likely in excess of 3,000, so the data is wrong. There are so many lawyers who are in government service who pay tax directly, so the statement is just patently false,” Forson told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Thursday.

He added: “There are people in private practice who also pay taxes, so the impression given that lawyers don’t pay tax is really unfortunate. But I believe that whoever gave him the information misled him.”

Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta in August told Accra-based Asaase Radio that “we got about 60,000 businesspeople who were not paying taxes, some 5,000 or 6,000 lawyers are not. Some doctors [are not paying income tax]…so you begin to see all of these professionals, all of us on social media ranting against the government and [realise] that most of these people are not even paying taxes.”

The claim about professionals, including lawyers, not paying taxes, has also been made by the Assistant Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Dr Charles Addae.

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