The Ministry of Finance has made changes at the top management level of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) as part of ongoing reforms to improve the performance of the tax collecting institution.
Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah has been appointed the Acting Commissioner for Domestic Tax Revenue Division; Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), Acting Commissioner, Customs Division and Ms Julie Essiam, Acting Commissioner, Support Services Division.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry in Accra yesterday, said about 1,418 employees were being rotated to other areas of the organisation as part of the exercise.
“Further changes will be made to retool Ghana Revenue Authority for the critical task of mobilising revenue to finance improvements in the lives of our people,” it stated.
According to the statement, the ongoing reorganisation had been necessitated by factors, including the need for better domestic revenue mobilisation in order to realise the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.
It said with Ghana’s Revenue to GDP of 12.6 per cent, below the West Africa average of 19.9 per cent, it was important to raise domestic revenue in a more efficient way in order to meet the country’s commitments.
“GRA revenues have failed to reach budget targets, and over the last three years there has been an accumulated gap of about GH¢3.5 billion,” the statement said.
Another factor, it said, was the need for much stronger, world-class structures, following its growth over the years and current revenues of approximately GH¢38 billion which has made it one of the biggest institutions in Ghana.
Additionally, it cited the increase in number of employees of the GRA to 12,000 including 5,000 NABCO personnel, which has made the authority the largest employers outside the civil service, as a factor.
The statement said the new team is expected to drive transformational changes, including modernising and digitising tax processes and systems and also introducing big data and block chain technologies to improve compliance.
It is to expand the tax base to encompass, more effectively, the informal sector and professional classes which currently encompassed more than six million eligible tax -paying individuals but only about 2.5 million had been registered and about 1.2 million were active direct tax payers.
According to the statement, the team is mandated to develop a stronger culture of performance and accountability, enhance staff integrity and anti-corruption measures.
It is the expectation of the Finance Ministry that the new leadership would ensure an increase in the quality of tax payer services, create a fair and firm tax organisation that ensures equitable treatment of every tax payer.
Tackling revenue leakages across both Domestic Tax and Customs in ensuring that shared best practices, to create a truly world-class organisation were also listed as expectations.
The changes, according to the statement, are expected to bring improvements in the institution, including the best of private sector practices in addition to public sector technical expertise to improve functionality.
The statement thanked the current leadership team for their efforts made in the past and wished the Commissioner-General and his new team success as they take the reins to lead GRA to the next level.
BY TIMES REPORTER