Ghanaians must change attitude towards payment of tax – Central Regional Minister

The Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan has called for attitudinal change among Ghanaians with respect to the payment of taxes.

He explained that, taxes were critical in the development of any nation, saying, “No country can develop without efficient tax administration and governance.”

Mr Duncan was speaking at the Central Regional launch of the 2019 tax and governance week at Cape Coast.

The week was instituted by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in line with the declaration of the month of April as Client Service Month.

This year’s event is on the theme: ” File your tax returns, pay your taxes, move Ghana Beyond Aid”

Mr Duncan mentioned evasion of tax, inefficient tax system and low level of tax education as the factors militating against mobilisation of taxes in the country.

The low inflows of tax revenue, he noted, continue to affect efforts aimed at ensuring effective development of the country.

He commended the GRA for working hard and rolling out the e-solutions platform to enhance payment of taxes through the electronic mode of payment.

He advocated the need for the country to widen the tax net in order to enable more people to pay their taxes.

He noted that, the current situation where only a few have been paying their taxes was not the best if the nation wants to achieve rapid development.

Additionally, he called on Ghanaians to be conscious and adhere to time due to its critical role in promoting productivity.

He indicated that, the attitude to time among most people in the nation was not the best, saying, “We need to change this attitude if we want to move forward as a nation”.

In his address Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Medium Tax Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), George K.O. Amankwa-Boateng said: “The importance of the client service month is to ensure that the GRA provided quality and professional services across all of its offices and frontier posts to all its cherished stakeholders.”

He underscored the need for personnel of the agency to embrace a positive corporate culture which he noted, would impact on the organisation’s image positively.

“Our attitude should be one that assures our stakeholders or clients that they are welcome to our offices and that we will be professional in our dealings with them as we assess, collect and account for tax revenue for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he said.

Mr Amankwa-Boateng explained that, the objective for the event was to improve the compliance level of tax returns filing and payments, which he said, would lead to increased revenue and attainment of the 2019 revenue target.

“The Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) enjoins all persons who earn income to file their annual tax returns by April 30 every year,” he said.

He expressed concern about the attitude of some taxpayers in the region in employing every tactics to either not pay taxes or pay miscalculated taxes.

He stated that: “This attitude must change if we want to see any meaningful development in the Central Region which we deserve”.

Mr Amankwa-Boateng further said that, the country last year recorded a tax-to-GDP ratio of 10 per cent  instead of the 20 per cent or more as a middle income country.

He, therefore, called on Ghanaians to contribute their fair and honest share of tax revenue to make the desired accelerated development possible.

The Ghana Revenue Authority, he said, had rolled out a number of e-solutions to make the filing of tax returns and payment of taxes very convenient to taxpayers.

“This will ultimately improve significantly the benchmark ease of doing business demanded by the World Bank and every well-meaning Ghanaian” he noted.

The Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, who was the chairman for the occasion, reiterated the need for people to honour their tax obligations.

From David O. Yarboi-Tetteh, Cape Coast

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