The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has described as unacceptable Ashanti Region’s contribution to national tax revenue.
Commissioner General of GRA, Emmanuel Kofi Nti, says it is surprising the second largest regional economy after Greater Accra Region was performing poorly with regards to tax revenue.
“Considering the level of economic activities in the Ashanti Region, one would expect that the region will contribute about 10 or more percent to the national revenue.
“In fact, It should more than double its contribution because with the kind of growth, buildings springing up, and business activities...it shouldn’t be four percent. This is an issue that all of us must address,” he said.
At an interactive forum between the revenue agency and the business community in the region as part of its tax campaign dubbed, “Our Taxes Our Future” on Wednesday, Mr Nti said the authority is focused on enhanced tax education to increase compliance for improved tax collection.
He also revealed a 10% of offender’s penalty will be given to persons who report tax-evading individual and institutions.
“From this forum, people are beginning to accept that Ashanti Region can and must do more. We must widen the tax net and get the informal sector to pay their tax, so the issue of taxpayer identification is key and it is the way to go. We want the participation of the stakeholders to encourage tax obligation,” he said.
The tax forum allowed business owners to table their challenges and concerns about tax regime and its impact on their businesses.
The initiative is targeted at bringing more people into the tax net by changing public perception and attitude.
The GRA is hopeful the initiative will increase revenue and the level of voluntary compliance.
Some of the traders who attended the programme complained that those they compete with are not registered and are not paying taxes, which is not fair to those who pay their taxes.
Both the Ashanti Business Owners Association (ABOA) and Ghana Cement Distributors Association (GCDA), for instance, want the 3% VAT flat rate charged on goods to be deducted at the manufacturing stage and entry point.
Chairman of GCDA, Nana Owusu Ansah, complains only 30% of distributors have registered to pay tax.
“There are no control pricing mechanisms in the cement selling industry, as a result, those not paying tax are selling at lower prices than ours which is affecting our businesses,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials say the contribution of informal sector operators to total tax revenue is insignificant.
Mr Nti says, “With the dominance of the informal sector in the national economy, accounting for about 70%, the contribution of the sector to total tax revenue is below two percent. GRA believes that its time we reversed this situation”.