GRA targets informal sector in new campaign

Mrs. Abena Asare,Deputy Minister of Finance reading the speech on behalf of the minister.

Mrs. Abena Asare,Deputy Minister of Finance reading the speech on behalf of the minister.

About 200,000 out of 1.5 million Ghanaians in the informal sector pay taxes, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has said.

According to him six million Ghanaians were expected to be in the tax net but only 1.5 million Ghanaians pay taxes regularly.

Mr. Ofori-Atta said this on Tuesday in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the National Tax Campaign by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in Accra. It is on the theme, ‘Our taxes our future’.

The campaign which is targeted at the informal sector is to encourage those in the sector to willingly pay their taxes.

He said, it was not right to ride on the back of the few numbers of the formal sector to contribute to revenue.

“We must do everything possible to change this in our quest for development, to ensure that we achieve the Ghana beyond aid agenda,” he stated.

Mr. Ofori-Atta urged the GRA to remove barriers and improve on the ease of paying taxes by citizens to reap in a lot of people and widen the tax length.

He urged the informal sector to respond to the GRA’s campaign with an attitudinal change in order to contribute their quota to the development of the country.

He assured the GRA of government’s support to hold tax evaders accountable, saying funding of government’s project was through taxes.

The Commissioner General of GRA, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, said the campaign which was expected to last for six months would help change and affect peoples’ attitudes to expand the tax net and improve voluntary compliance.

He said, the campaign which would be multifaceted would be undertaken in collaboration with the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Information Services Department (ISD) and the media to enable the message reach a large number of Ghanaians.

Mr Nti noted that, the authority believed in sustaining the education and sensitisation of the public on tax issues, especially the informal sector operators to ensure that they contributed to the national development agenda.

The education, he said, was necessary because the informal sector was the largest, constituting about 70 per cent of the national economy but “its contribution to tax revenue is sadly negligible, about two per cent”.

This, he said was clearly unacceptable and must change, hence the reason for continuing with the tax campaign from last year.

“We would, therefore, continuously educate the public especially operators from the informal sector on the need to honour their tax obligation,” he added.

Mr. Nti called on informal sector operators to register with the tax administration, pay taxes on due dates, file their returns on time and make full disclosure of their transactions, saying that, this would enable them play their roles as citizens and not spectators.

Activities of the campaign, he said, would include radio and television discussions, community outreach and engagements, stakeholder engagements, dawn broadcasts and social media engagements.

BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU AND ALLIA NOSHIE

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