The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti, has said it could potentially collect more taxes than it is doing presently, as taxes collected within the first 18 months of the year are lower than expected.
“Our target was GHC 24.46 billion and we have collected GHC22.66 billion; indicating that we have registered a deficit of GHC1.8 billion, this represented a shortfall of 7.4percent.
As at August 2018, Customs had registered a negative deviation of GHC1.7 billion while the Domestic Tax Revenue Division had an overall negative deviation of GHC 83.8 million also representing a fall of 0.6 percent,” he said.
He was speaking at a media engagement in Accra to outline the performance of the Authority between January and August 2018.
“GRA should be rubbing shoulders with the best in Africa. There is the urgent need to significantly increase revenue mobilization to meet growing expenditure. But this can only be done with the cooperation of the public who depend on you for information,” he said.
The negative picture, Mr. Nti stated, must be reversed in the months ahead. “We are aiming at a better performance that this. It is here that our new initiative come in.”
Mr. Nti explained that as part of the Authority’s broad revenue collection strategy to enforce tax compliance, it will vigorously go after tax evaders with the full application of the tax laws especially with the grace period granted through the tax amnesty having expired.
“The days of impunity about non-compliance with the tax laws are over. GRA is now going to bit. It is not going to be business as usual. We therefore want the public to take note,” he stated.
The new initiative will include naming and shaming, full imposition and application of sanctions including prosecutions, garnishing and distress action,” he said, adding that the overall underperformance is crucial for new strategies to be adopted.
Contracting McKinsey Group
As part of a new initiatives to achieve a significant uplift in revenue mobilization in the two years ahead, the GRA has engaged the services of consultancy firm, McKinsey Group to help it block revenue leakages that persist in its revenue collection.
The consultancy firm which has already begun its work for about two months now is mandated among others things to help the GRA block all revenue leakages which should increase revenue out of which it shall receive payments for work done.
“First, McKinsey is to help change GRA’s systems to be comparable to the best in revenue administration the world through simplifying our processes and introducing innovation.
Secondly, investing heavily in training our staff to build their skills and finally, helping build the mindset of constant improvement through sourcing for ideas to change and improve GRA,” Mr. Nti said.
The Group is here to help improve upon professionalism and the change management process in GRA.
“We call this improvement process ‘PROJECT G.R.E.A.T’–Ghana Revenue Enhancement and Transformation. That is my vision for GRA,”he said.
As part of the project GREAT, according to Mr. Nti has scheduled engagement and industry forums with players in the in various sectors of the economy in the days ahead to also discuss the new initiatives as apply to the them.
“We have begun with you the media because of the significant role you play in the society, that is, educating and informing us,” he remarked.