GRA to broaden tax base with digital technology – Ofori-Atta

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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is well-positioned to lead Ghana’s aspiration to use digital technologies to improve the citizen experience, broaden the tax base and to particularly capitalise on the widespread penetration of mobile phones in the economy, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said.

He said this during the swearing-in ceremony of Professor Stephen Adei as the new board chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Mr. Eugene Asante Ofosuhene as a Board Member.

At the ceremony, he also accepted the retirement notification of Mr Kofi Nti, the current Commissioner-General, effective October 1st 2019.

Mr. Ammish Addai Owusu-Amoah, Commissioner for Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD), will become the acting Commissioner-General also responsible for DTRD.

“Government is aiming to raise GH¢ 45.2bn in domestic revenues as the 2019 target even though GRA is 7.3% behind target as at end of July”, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta said, adding that “although the country’s tax revenues have grown consistently over the last few years, Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio at 17.6% is still well below the middle-income country average for Africa.”

As such, GRA’s efficiency in tax collection has become even more crucial for achieving sustainable revenue targets that reflect Ghana’s developmental agenda.

The contribution of the two new Members of the Board is essential to ensuring the achievement of GRA’s objective of revenue mobilisation in an era of Ghana Beyond Aid.

Ken Ofori-Atta told the new Board Members of government’s faith in their ability to contribute towards the elimination of revenue administration inefficiencies, undue external influences, unassigned ‘security personnel’ and corruption.

The Minister stressed that they bring renewed hope and that he has strong trust in their high moral standing and patriotism.

Prof. Adei is an accomplished change agent and fearless patriot, while Mr Ofosuhene, a former Controller & Accountant-General, is a disciplined professional. Both are men of unquestioned integrity.

He called on the citizenry to fulfil their civic responsibilities to pay their taxes. He also mentioned the new partnership between Faith-Based Organisations and Government to encourage their congregations to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and promote a new responsiveness for all citizens to protect the public purse.

“GRA is well-positioned to lead Ghana’s aspiration to use digital technologies to improve the citizen experience, broaden the tax base and to particularly capitalise on the widespread penetration of mobile phones in the economy”, said the Finance Minister.

The two new Board Members bring on board a critical knowledge and wisdom acquired through their rich experiences, which the Minister believes will be required to confront the challenges to raising the targeted revenue to support government’s programmes and activities.

Minister Ofori-Atta charged the two new board members to help GRA:

Build a strong reputation for discipline, integrity and righteousness

Be a meritocratic organisation that is known for high performance

Have digitised internal processes in Custom and Domestic taxes that improve responsiveness to the public

Fully implement digital systems that enable citizens access to tax services anytime and anywhere

In response, the new Chairperson for the Board, Professor Adei, said “I have an absolute zero-tolerance for corruption, and as captains of the ship, we must be seen not to do wrong”.

On his part, Mr. Ofosuhene stressed that “the era of using GRA for personal interest is over”.

The Minister thanked Mr. Kofi Nti for his meritorious service and commended him for his diligence in establishing a platform for a new and transformed GRA.

Source laudbusiness.com
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