George Blankson bids farewell

Mr. Blankson (left) , out-going Commissioner General handing over the symbol of office to Mr. Kofi Nti the new Commissioner General

Mr. Blankson (left) , out-going Commissioner General handing over the symbol of office to Mr. Kofi Nti the new Commissioner General

A farewell parade was on Friday held in Accra, at which George Blankson formally handed over the baton of leadership of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), to the newly appointed Commissioner-General(C-G) Emmanuel Kofi Nti.

Mr. Nti, a banker, economist, statistician, accountant and tax expert, with experience spanning three decades was the Head of Tax Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance, between 2006-2012.

Mr. Blankson had been at the helm of affairs of the GRA since 2009, when the Custom Excise and Prevention Service, Value Added Tax, Internal Revenue Service and the Revenue Agency Governing Board were merged to become GRA with three Divisions: Custom Division, Domestic Tax Revenue and Support Service.

He spearheaded reforms culminating in doubling of revenue three years into office as the head of the country’s revenue mobilisation body.

Before handing over the outgoing C-General, Mr. Blankson arrived at the head office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division at about 4:00 p.m. took a general salute and reviewed a guard of honour mounted by a contingent of the Custom Divison.

He handed over the symbol of office to Mr. Nti and delivered a valedictory speech before he was symbolically ‘driven out’ of the premises at about 5: 28 p.m. in an open pick up, waving a white handkerchief and receiving cheers from the crowd, including officials from other security agencies and a cross section of the public.

Staff and management parted company with him, showering gifts made of wooden carven, art work, parcels and citation praising him for re-engineering revenue mobilisation drive and motivating staff to deliver to satisfaction.

Mr. Blankson in his speech said, he projected revenue growing at an increasing rate and showing positive outlook in the years ahead.

This , he said was premised on the fact that  the Minister of Finance had a deep commitment to ensuring that a revenue mobilisation drive,  the government’s  commitment to revenue performance and enhancement as the cornerstone of economic policy and the wealth of experience of the  incoming  Commissioner General.

“Management and staff of GRA have tremendous capacity to hold high the touch of change and dedication to reforming revenues administration and doing so tirelessly,” he said.

He said it was a herculean task bringing all the revenue agencies under one roof adding “this has been made possible by the dedication to duty, extraordinary professionalism displayed by management and staff.

Mr. Nti for his part, said though revenue doubled in Ghana cedis , but in dollar terms there had been    short fall , explaining  that in 2012 revenue went up to 11.6 billion cedis, an equivalent of 6.19 billion dollars , but in 2016 revenue was 26.4 billion dollars, an equivalent of 6.29 billion dollars.

He said though the GRA had been doing well”…we can do better….help me raise revenue for the benefit of the country,” he pleaded for support.

Edward Larbi-Siaw, Special Advisor to the Minister of Finance commended   Blankson for his efforts at revenue mobilisation and expressed optimism that the Mr. Nti would keep to the standard saying “you have all the qualities to double revenue in three years.’

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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