The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is consulting with relevant stakeholders to introduce tax education into the country’s basic education curriculum so as to imbue in the Ghanaian the importance of paying taxes.


A tax policy advisor, Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, made this known at a post-budget dissemination seminar at Bolgatanga.


Participants at the seminar included businessmen and women selected from across the region, Immigration officers, GRA staff from the various area commands in the Upper East Region and some heads of educational and health institutions.


Dr Larbi-Siaw stressed the need for Ghana to find internal solutions to its financial needs and to raise funds for the execution of major developmental projects.


This, he said, had become necessary because of the country’s new status as a Lower Middle Income nation which would witness the dwindling or total stoppage of some grants and donor financing.


He explained that the recent abolition of some nuisance taxes by government as well as the reduction in the threshold of some other taxes should be a strong motivator for Ghanaians and the business community to voluntarily pay their taxes.


He stated that it was wrong for people to refuse to pay taxes on the grounds that their areas lacked development projects, adding that payment of taxes was a national issue and could not be localized as to people in a particular area choosing to pay or not to pay.


Dr Larbi-Siaw said government in its current budget intended to cut the budget deficit to about 4.5 per cent.


He explained that ideally, there were three layers in every budgeting process, namely projections that led to a surplus budget, balanced budget or a deficit budget and that Ghana should be planning to achieve the surplus budget where revenues exceeded expenditure, adding that  it was under such a budget type that the much-desired transformation and development could be attained nationwide.


He disclosed that the Commissioner-General of the GRA had launched the national tax education campaign on the theme: “our taxes, our future” which was targeted to whip up the interest of Ghanaians and the business community to voluntarily pay up their taxes.


Dr Larbi-Siaw said the regional post-budget sensitization seminar by the Ministry of Finance and its partners fell in line with the GRA’s tax education efforts.


He commended the German aid organisation, GIZ, for its financial and technical support to the Ministry of Finance and sister state agencies in organising the outreach seminars and other events.


The GIZ’s Officer in charge of the Good Financial Governance Programme, Dr Nina Korte, in her remarks, said to aid the government’s efforts in improving domestic revenues to meet the development needs of the citizenry and to also cater for other social services, GIZ had been supporting the Ghana Government in the area of good financial governance for some time now.


Dr Korte noted that the biggest drive to increasing revenues in the modern world was the digitisation of the system which would trigger a quick and easy collection of tax revenues and other forms of payments due the state.


She, therefore, called on all to get involved on issues relating to public finance administration while appealing to all categories of tax payers to endeavor to pay their taxes, stressing that “every little tax counts”.


In a presentation, Mr Emmanuel Ohene, a GRA Officer at the Customs Division in charge of the paperless process, disclosed that unlike under the old regime where EcoBank and the Ghana Commercial Bank were the only payments service providers for importers and exporters, payments could now be done under the paperless system through new channels such as mobile money platforms or through any bank, via the use of electronic visa cards, among others.


Officer Ohene said the operationalization of the paperless process which took effect from September 1, 2017 was to, among other things, eliminate or reduce human interference in the freight business and to enable quick movement of goods through the harbours and ports.


He said under the new paperless system, a client could clear his/her goods within two hours after the submission of valid consignment documents.


Source: ISD (Peter Atogewe Wedam)