The Minister of Education, Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, has urged tax experts to conduct more research in the area of taxation and come up with findings and publications on the subject to improve revenue mobilisation in the country.
Addressing tax experts at the opening of the Sixth International Tax Conference in Accra yesterday, the minister observed that there was a gap in the area of research in taxation and urged the experts to help bridge that gap.
She said it was imperative to find the root causes to the challenges of tax administration in the country to be able to find solutions to them.
The challenges, she said, included apathy on the part of citizens to pay taxes,and how the tax net could be expanded to rope in businesses in the informal sector.
Prof Opoku-Agyemang, who pushed for the enactment of the Chartered Institute of Taxation Act in Parliament in June this year, urged fellows at the institute to take up the challenge of conducting research in the area.
She stressed the need to educate the public on the need to honour their tax obligations and make the habit of paying taxes a Ghanaian culture.
“We like the things taxes do but we are not enthusiastic about paying it. More people need to pay taxes. We need a paradigm shift,” she said.
The minister urged the experts to public academic books and journals on the subject as means of educating the public on the subject.
While urging the institute to ensure high professional standards among its members, she called for continuous training of members of the institute to broaden their knowledge and skill in the profession.
“Good ethics and high professional standards will put confidence in the people who engage your services and avoid unnecessary conflicts,” she said.
President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Ghana, Nii Ayi Aryeetey said the conference was being held on the theme, “Strategies for revenue mobilisation in contemporary times: Challenges in tax legislation”.
The participants, he said, would, for two days, discuss the challenges in tax legislation that impact on the strategies to mobilise revenue in modern era.
According to Nii Aryeetey, the existence of a reliable database of tax payers would complement tax legislation as well as the process put in place to ensure efficiency, fairness and equity in the implementation of revenue mobilisation.
“The high level of tax certainty derived as a result goes a long way to stimulate business growth and facilitates the task of practitioners in proffering sound device in the management of the affairs of their clients to ensure that the right amount of tax is paid at the right time at all times.”
“I hope to ensure that we make every effort to derive maximum benefits from the outcomes in order to deepen our knowledge and skills in the tax profession,” he said.
By Yaw Kyei and Benedicta Ampadu Okyere