Tax Justice Coalition (TJC), an advocacy organisation based in the Upper East Region, has called on government to take steps to review the current tax system to expand the tax net to rake in more revenue for national development.
The TJC made the called during a stakeholder workshop at Bolgatanga, organised by the Rural Initiative for Self-Empowerment Ghana (RISE-Ghana), a non-governmental organisation ((NGO) with funding from Action Aid Ghana, another NGO.
The coalition said taxation was the major source of funding for the country’s development projects, however, about 90 per cent of the potential taxpayers were left out of the tax net leading to low mobilisation of resources for national development.
This had compelled Ghana to depend on external aid to finance most of the country’s project, including roads, schools, and hospitals, it said.
The purpose of the workshop was to build the capacities of civil society organisations, NGOs, business owners and media, among other stakeholders, to enable them engage in evidence-based tax justice advocacy and support local revenue mobilisation efforts.
It was held under the themes, “Addressing policy challenges and regulatory loopholes to improve tax compliance in Ghana: what role can state and non-state actors play?” and “Taxation: taxpayer’s role and responsibilities and the need for compliance.”
The Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, said the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda would only be achievable when measures were taken to expand the tax net to cover all businesses and individuals who were supposed to pay taxes, and block all loopholes in the collection and dispensation of the tax.
The Executive Director urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to improve on the tax filing and payment systems, particularly implementing an online system of payment to enable taxpayers to easily and comfortably file and pay their taxes.
Mr Kariama further urged the GRA to intensify their tax compliance education to enable taxpayers fully appreciate the need to sincerely honour their tax obligations for sustainable national development.
He observed that corruption was another major challenge that discouraged people from paying tax, and therefore, urged the government to ensure that the various taxes collected were used judiciously for the development and wellbeing of the people.
The Acting Officer Manager, Bolgatanga Small Taxpayer Office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, Mr Yussif Musah Braimah, who took the participants through the types of taxes, indicated payment of tax was a law and constitutional requirement.
He said article 41 of the 1992 Constitution enjoined every citizen, particularly income earners to honestly declare their incomes, file their returns and pay their tax to enable the government finance its budget.
The acting manager underscored the need for public co-operation in the effective mobilisation of the tax, and urged the public to volunteer information on individuals and business owners who invade tax for appropriate action to be taken against them.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA