Pay tax for development to thrive

Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, Western Regional Minister, has noted that revenue mobilisation in the country has not kept pace with the growing demands of citizens for development projects and better services from government.

“Revenues have not been able to keep up with these demands, thus creating a deficit that has to be bridged through government borrowing or through donor partners,” he said.

He pointed out that Ghana currently enjoys several concessional loans and support from development partners, and this keeps dwindling: “It behoves all and sundry to contribute their quota to raising revenue for development of the country”.

The regional minister said this in an address read for him at the launch of the tax and good governance week programme in Takoradi.

He said government has declared a tax amnesty to enable taxpayers register, file returns and make any outstanding payments for previous years without imposition of interest and penalties and prosecution; these interventions are all aimed at ensuring voluntary compliance by taxpayers.

He said though potential employees in the country are estimated at six million individuals, only about one million, five hundred persons are registered with the Ghana Revenue Authourity (GRA).

He mentioned that GRA will mount tax clinics in specific places to assist citizens in filling their income tax returns.

Mr. Peter Ben Baah, Assistant Commissioner-Small Tax Office of GRA, said filing tax returns is a civic responsibility for all.

“As an authority, we cannot continue to force taxpayers; I’m hopeful that the level of voluntary compliance will grow in line with best practices of the developed world,” he added.

He said GRA is mandated to collect a total of GH¢39.8billion as tax revenue; and a number of tax-compliance measures have been introduced with the hope of inducing voluntary compliance.

“It is my expectation that, this year, the GRA will record an impressive increase in the number of taxpayers filling their returns, voluntarily complying and ultimately maximising revenue for national development,” he added.