GRA considers tax relief for women in SMEs

georgeThe Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is considering granting tax relief to women in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ghana, just as was being done in Kenya, to improve their livelihoods, Dr. Alex Kombat, a tax expert, has hinted.

“The proposal comes on the back of a research commissioned by the International Centre for Tax and Development (ICTD) in partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance and other international tax related agencies,” he said.

Dr. Kombat was speaking at a workshop organised by the ICTD in collaboration with the GRA to discuss ways to use the tax system to make things better for women.

The three-day workshop on ‘Gender and tax in Africa’, participated by 35 tax specialists, practitioners and researchers, was to develop a research agenda on gender and taxation in Africa.

The workshop drew lessons from the revenue collection agencies of participating countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal and Nigeria.

He said its implementation would ensure that female taxpayers in Ghana enjoy some tax incentives in order to promote equity.

Dr. Kombat, a tax policy and research official, also said the GRA was considering allowing women to take front line roles in tax administration and collection.

This, he said, would help deepen compliance and transparency while boosting confidence in revenue mobilisation system.

Dr Kombat stated that when more women were in managerial position and at the frontline tax administration, they tend to influence decision and helps reduce corruption.

According to the tax expert, the workshop was critical, in that it identified the gaps that women who were in frontline tax administration could play towards a more successful tax collection.

Mick Moore, CEO, ICTD explained that women’s employment was largely in the informal economy, in underpaid, precarious and frequently risky jobs, adding that in sub-Sahara Africa, only 11 per cent of women in the labour force were part of formal sector, as compared to 17 per cent of men.

“Thus policies for taxation of the informal economy are important to understand gender effects,” he said.

Capacity Building Manager at ICTD, Dr. Jalia Kangave explained that there was the need for governments to reconsider policies affecting women and taxation as it disproportionately represented those in the lower economic status ladder.

“Because at the end of the day, in most societies, women are the ones that hold the society together in terms of childcare and other related responsibilities and duties… but in most cases, women are disproportionately represented in the lower income levels, so we are looking at what ways we can use tax system to make things better for women,” Dr. Kangave remarked.


By Times Reporter

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