A three-day workshop on ‘Gender and Tax’ in Africa has been held in Accra with a call on African governments to develop tax policies to benefit women and allow them take frontline positions in tax administration and collection.
Organised by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD), a global policy research network in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), it was attended by 35 tax specialists, practioners and researchers from 14 different countries.
Speaking at the conference, Dr. Alex Kombat, research and policy analyst at GRA said such policies when implemented would deepen compliance and transparency while boosting the confidence in revenue collection system.
This he said would enhance revenue collection as funding and donor supports from other countries have reduced.
He explained that, when Ghana replicate this system being practised by Kenya, it would benefit women and end gender inequality, fulfill women’s rights and provide quality services to them.
Dr. Kombat stated that, female taxpayers would enjoy some tax incentives and improve their livelihood.
He revealed that, many African countries’ tax collection exercise was solely done by men.
Mick Moore, Chief Executive of ICTD said, a study conducted by Action Aid revealed that lots of developing countries were spending less than 0.03 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on ministries focused on women’s rights and empowerment.
“Despite the fact that women engage in majority of unpaid care work such as caring for children, fetching water and performing household chores they were equally subjected to same tax obligation as compared to their male counterparts,” he said.
He said in order for Ghana to deliver on its commitment on women rights, there was the need to invest in gender–responsive public services which would reduce burden of unpaid care work shouldered by women in developing countries.
“This means providing much better gender responsive health services, water and sanitation and public transport as well as assistance with childcare,” he said.
Capacity Building Manager, ICTD, Dr Jalia Kangave explained that there was the need for government to reconsider policies affecting women and taxation.
Women were the ones that hold the society together in terms of child care and other related responsibilities and duties.
He said tax and women’s rights were entwined and how it was raised, spent and allocated was very crucial.
Mr. Kangave recommended a gender budget that would ensure that public services including transportation, health care among others were targeted to women and were accessible to them in terms of location and cost.
By Benedicta Folley