The contributions of the informal sector to the total revenue generated by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) constitute less than one per cent, Commissioner General of the GRA, Emmanuel Kofi Nti, has said.
Describing the situation as worrying, he blamed it on the lack of credible data system to identify businesses and individuals who failed to honour their tax obligations.
Speaking at an economic forum organised by the Danquah Institute in Accra, Mr Nti said in spite of the challenge, the Authority’s revenue performance last year was outstanding.
According to him, the GRA in 2017 collected an amount of GH¢32.3 billion as against GH¢27 billion recorded in 2016, and represents a nominal growth rate of 22.3 per cent over the 2016 figures.
“The key issues of Ghana’s tax system are knowing and re-identifying the tax payers,” Mr Nti said, indicating that “knowing and re-identifying eligible tax payers will help GRA to integrate such people into the country’s tax collection net”.
The Commissioner General said the Tax Identification Number (TIN) and the Ghana Card were some of the measures being employed by the government to strengthen the tax collection system.
“As of December 2017, those with TIN were over 1.5million and as of December 2018 the number increased a little over two million,” the GRA boss said.
The TIN is a unique identification number issued to taxpayers for official transactions.
He mentioned that institutions such as banks, the Passport Office and the Registrar General’s Department would not transact business with any individual who did not have a TIN.
Mr Nti said the GRA would be enforcing the implementation of the TIN to enable taxpayers comply with the directive.
An Associate Professor in Economics, at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Madam Eugenia Amporfu, reiterated the need to educate Ghanaians on the significance of honouring their tax obligations.
She said GRA should institute stringent measures to arrest and prosecute those who refuse to pay their tax, stressing that such measures would serve as deterrents to others.
Madam Amporfu also urged the GRA to introduce flexible technological system such as mobile money platforms to make payment of tax convenient to tax payers.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN