‘Pursue TIN to increase revenue’

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),must vigorously pursue the Tax Identification Number (TIN) initiative to increase its tax revenue, Deputy Country Director of SEND Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Ayifah has said.

That, he said, would enable the GRA to rope in a lot more people in the tax net to boost government tax revenue.

Dr Ayifah disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of a forum on the 2019 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

The forum was organised by the UNICEF in collaboration with SEND Ghana to discuss the budget statement and solicit the views of the public on the budget.

The Deputy Country Director of SEND Ghana  stressed that GRA should initiate strategies to make the payment easy and flexible, adding that the GRA must also embark on massive tax education sensitive to the public on the legal obligation on them to pay tax.

He said a tax study conducted by SEND Ghana last year indicated that even though a lot of citizens were willing to pay tax, they lack knowledge on tax issues in the country.

Dr Ayifah stressed if effective tax reforms and education was conducted by the GRA, it would help increase domestic tax mobilisation and increase government revenue.

He said the country’s continuous reliance on donor funds to implement the budget would not augur well for the country’s development.

According to him, the country’s tax revenue to Gross Domestic Product since 2017 had been dwindling and currently stands at about 13 per cent.

The current 13 per cent of tax revenue to GDP was far below the African standards of 19 per cent and also fell short of the international standard of 26 per cent.

The Civil Society Organisations Coordinator of the Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs Ugonna Ukaigwe, said though the 2019 budget statement clearly  presents  government’s position  to the SDGs, there was policy direction  in the budget statement on how it will enforce inclusivity in compliance with the principle of “ leaving no one behind”.

“We would like to urge government to specifically show in subsequent budgets the progress markers and benchmarks toward meeting the various targets of the SDGs,” she said.

Mrs Ukaigwe also entreated government to develop, as part of its commitment to the SDGs, an “inclusivity objective” that clearly itemised government’s vision for “leaving no one behind”.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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