Religious, traditional leaders to be included in taxpayer education – GIZ

Inclusive Development Programme

The Governance for Inclusive Development Programme (GovID) of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has indicated that it is very crucial to involve religious and traditional leaders in domestic revenue mobilisation.

This was revealed through a base study conducted by the Governance for Inclusive Development Programme (GovID) to understand how religious and traditional leaders can be used to support the mobilisation of domestic revenue in the country.

In view of this, GovID has organised several dialogues which involved the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies on how they can collaborate with religious bodies to influence citizen’s attitude to paying tax.

Giving remarks at the final validation workshop, Programmes Manager at GIZ, Raphael Frerking, indicated that various stakeholders such as the religious and traditional leaders have long been ignored in their role in Taxpayer Education.

Mr. Frerking said the trust many citizens place in the religious leaders makes them interesting stakeholders that can also play a crucial role for increased tax compliance in emphasising the linkages between tax payments, accountability, and successful governance.

Stressing on the outcome of the baseline study conducted, he said: “Our further engagement with our partners showed that religious actors and communities of faith have been recognised by Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and MMDAs as possible partners to reach out to taxpayers and improve on their ‘customer-orientation’.

“Additionally, we realised that an enhanced dialogue between state actors and religious communities could build on the good and peaceful relations between religious and ethnic groups that Ghana rightfully takes pride in, while at the same time, helping to preserve social cohesion and internal peace for the future.”

Going forward, he said, GIZ will continuously engage with the partners – GRA and the MMDAs – on how to go beyond these pilot regions and engage other religious leaders.

A speech read on behalf of the GRA Commissioner-General, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, stressed the need for faith-based organisations and religious actors to be educated on tax payments.

He stated that Taxation is undoubtedly the bedrock of every society, and citizens are obliged by Law to pay taxes as part of their contribution to the national quota.

“These taxes go a long way to support government’s development agenda in the area of financing recurring expenditure of government such as payments of personal emoluments for public and civil sector employees, financing capital expenditure for social interventions, among others.”

The final validation workshop brought together various leaders and stakeholders from the faith-based organisations, traditional leaders, officials from ministries, departments and agencies, among others.

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