There is the need to resource the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) by providing logistics and training to enable the personnel identify illicit flow of funds, Mr Abdallah Ali-Nakyea, a Chartered Tax Consultant, has said.
He said among government’s goals in the 2017 Budget Statement was to build the most business-friendly and people-centred economy in Africa, which would translate into job creation and prosperity for Ghanaians.
He observed that poor record keeping, non- submission of tax returns by some registered taxpayers, failure to present valid invoices or receipts, double and multiple financial statements were some irregularities that were likely to affect revenue mobilisation.
Mr Ali- Nakyea made this call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra during a tax seminar on the 2017 National Budget Statement.
The tax seminar is an annual event organised by the Pentecost University College Graduate School (PUCGS).
The main theme for the seminar was: “The 2017 National Budget Statement in Perspective: Does it answer the Economic Development Goals of Ghana?”
As a way of contributing its quota to national development, in May 2014, PUCGS set up a Standing Committee to review tax, economic and good governance issues in Ghana on yearly basis particularly when the national budget statements are presented.
The Committee was also tasked to organise seminars to enable practitioners share their professional views with students and the public.
Mr Ali-Nakyea said Ghana’s budget from 2012 till now indicated that the country was losing revenue through tax exemption, and it had grown from 1.2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to 1.92 per cent of GDP.
He said comparing the percentage of GDP of 1.2 per cent, 1.4 per cent and 1.7 per cent, the nation had for infrastructural development, which implied that Ghana was even losing more on what was needed for infrastructure.
He called for the blocking of all these leakages, in order to have enough money to undertake projects without borrowing.
Mr Ali-Nakyea said on the other hand, it would be unlawful for government to issue a directive in a newspaper publication, indicating that any person who had an exemption or not had to pay duties and apply for a refund.
He said if government wanted to abolish the system that existed then there should be a law to back the directives.
He said: “Certain businesses may have contracts with government or its agencies, contracts that have been approved by Parliament and under Article 174 of the (1992) Constitution.”
In his welcome address, Professor Kwame Boasiako Omane-Antwi, Vice Rector and Dean of the PUCGS, said programme implementation had always been the bane of Ghana’s development challenge.
He said as a country we needed more efficient institutions and attitudes that were conducive to an increase in productivity and to development in general.
“For instance, institutions that allow for mobility, initiative, entrepreneurship, effective competition and equal opportunities; attitudes like efficiency, diligence, punctuality, honesty, openness to change, solidarity and future-oriented; sadly, we lack leadership,” he said.
Prof Omane Antwi noted that in the budget government recognised agriculture as the main anchor of the country’s economic transformation, which he believed, held the key to national socio- economic development agenda.
He described the 2017 National Budget Statement, as a budget that carried lots of good news; “as it is moving Ghana beyond aid and as well shifting focus of economic management from taxation to production”.
Mr Isaac Nyame, Managing Consultant, IKERN & Associates, also observed that the reduction in taxes would surely create a friendly business environment and attract foreign direct investments.
“However, this is likely to adversely affect the short term revenue expectations of the Government,” he stated.
He said on the other hand, this would empower the private sector and result in the overall wellbeing of the ordinary Ghanaian through job creation and economic growth, in the long term.