MP proposes establishment of special court to handle irregularities

Kwaku Kwarteng, the Chairman of Finance Committee of Parliament, has proposed the establishment of a special court to handle issues of irregularities.

“There is the need to take issues involving revenue mobilisation seriously and given the hostile external environment and increasing burden on us as a people to look within to raise revenue to finance our needs, maybe it is time to do some extraordinary things with respect to the issues,” he noted.

According to him, it would be helpful for the judiciary, police, and other public sector entities that dealt with irregularities, both in revenue mobilisation and expenditures, when it comes to matters relating to the country’s revenue and how public financial management should be treated a special case.

Mr Kwarteng, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Obuasi West Constituency in the Ashanti Region’s comments come on the back of a report by IMANI Africa which revealed some commercial banks who collected tax revenue on behalf of the government failed to lodge the funds based on the time frame provided by the Public Financial Management Act.

It said the fiscal recklessness of the 29 municipal and district assemblies and ministries departments and agencies are increasing as compared to 2010 and 2014 and also observed current public financing system is not delivering efficiency.

IMANI stated comparing 2010 to 2014, the financial cost of the recklessness of Assemblies to the period 2015 and 2020, the recklessness increased by 13 times, between 2010 and 2014, the financial cost of irregularity was GH¢1.4 billion, but between 2015 and 2020 it was GH¢13.9 billion, which shows Public Financial System is not delivering the level of efficiency.

Mr Kwarteng indicated that he had worked with the Ministry of Finance, worked closely with Ghana Revenue Authority, and it was not as though attempts were not made to prosecute some of the irregularities but some tax evaders head to court, apply all the technicalities, and end up frustrating the processes and sometimes police investigations drag which created fertile environment for people to get compromised.

He called for the establishment of a special tax court that would be dedicated to tax and related issues and appealed to the police to address issues involving revenue with needed urgency.

“Until the country devices an emergency solutions to these irregularities, we will continue to struggle with the generation of domestic revenue, and we will keep relying on external assistance and support,” Mr Kwarteng warned.–

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