… with launch of multi-purpose digital revenue solutions platforms
Two multi-purpose digital revenue solutions platforms – revenue management software (dLRev) and GRA Rent Tax App – that seek to plug leakages in the revenue mobilisation chain locally and nationally have been launched, with the sole aim of boosting Internally Generally Funds (IGFs) for local government institutions.
The platforms, which are government of Germany initiatives through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), were launched in collaboration with multiple state institutions including the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The launch forms part of the GIZ’s commitment to modernising public administration, the public finance system and strengthening local authorities in the country through enhancing the revenue mobilisation capacity of local government institutions, particularly Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to deliver on their mandates.
While local governments in the country are mandated to generate funds internally from a number of sources, over the years they have failed in this regard and had to rely heavily on funding from the central government – particularly through the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), with some estimates suggesting that only 20 percent of their total budget is financed by Internally Generated Funds (IGFs).
The revenue mobilisation chain has been plagued by a number of issues including, but not limited to, the lack of capable revenue management software and electronic property database-use by most MMDAs; the high cost of revenue collecting, primarily due to remuneration for collectors; use of cash as the primary means of payment; as well as a significant number of eligible properties not receiving property rate bills.
Hajia Alima Mahama, Local Government and Rural Development Minister said: “The e-billing and e-payment components that reduce the human component is a key solution, and presents a revolutionary approach to revenue mobilisation at the district level. We started with 49 districts, and by the end of November the properties in these districts would’ve been valued; and GIZ provided 80% of the funding for this exercise”.
She added that the ministry is also collaborating with the Administrator of Stool Lands for tailor-made software to administrate revenue from stool lands.
Julie Essiam, Ag. Commissioner, Support Services Division at the GRA, revealed that it was during a pilot exercise undertaken by her outfit – between April and July 2019 to develop strategies to assist district assemblies in local resource mobilization – that the authority’s attention was brought to the principal software, district Local Revenue (dLRev).
“Realizing the potential dLRev and its data has for addressing some of the challenges confronting GRA, a request was made for GIZ to provide the authority with a tailor-made application to assist with better management of rent tax operations.
“I am glad to announce that GRA management has been presented with the first release of the application and subsequently endorsed it for roll-out in the Accra-Tema Metropolitan Area at five offices by the end of October 2020, and subsequently to other offices in 2021.
“The key attraction for using this application is that this time GRA will be able to predict the number of rental property types and proceed to prioritise collection of rent tax revenue. The authority subsequently formally requested GIZ to proceed and further develop the collection aspects of the application for the system to be fully applied to Rent Tax collections in 2021,” she explained.
The Rent App will aid in validating existing rental data from valuation with owner information and rental details, capture new rental details and owner information based on field verification, automatically calculate rent tax due and generate reports.
The event also saw the handing-over of 16 drones to “accelerate the provision of orthophotos to improve parcel digitisation across all the 16 regions of Ghana”.