By Agnes Ansah .
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is seeking the help of an international consultancy firm, Mckinsey Group, to help improve and widen its tax mobilisation.
According to Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, Commissioner General, GRA, Mckinsey would help change the GRA system to be comparable to the best in revenue administration in the world through simplified processes and innovations.
“They would also invest heavily in training our staff to build their skills, and help build mindset of constant improvement through sourcing for ideas to change the GRA,” he added.
He made this known to editors, producers, morning show hosts, and reporters who gathered at the Alisa Hotel on Tuesday evening in Accra.
Mr Nti indicated that the collaboration with the group was part of the GRA’s vision to enhance its performance to achieve significant revenue uplift over the next two years.
It would also help improve upon professionalism and change the management process in the GRA, he observed.
He indicated that the group would not take over the work of the GRA, but rather complement and make them have a feel of how they had improved revenue mobilisation in some African countries.
Mr Nti indicated that as of August 31 2018, the GRA was able to collect only GH¢22,656.69 million out of a GH¢24,460.29 million target set for the year 2018.
He said the GH¢1,803.59 million they were not able to collect was from the Customs and the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the Authority.
While Customs recorded a negative deviation of GH¢1,700.82 million, the DTRD recorded GH¢83.79 million fall in revenue mobilisation.
This fall, he attributed to the challenges faced at the Customs Division of the GRA.
He said the levels of importation, and ships that dock at the port had gone down, leading to a significant loss in revenue mobilisation at the Customs Division.
He said though they had marshalled the Armed Forces to deal with the challenges, they would also want Mckinsey to bring its experience with other African countries onboard, hence the collaboration.
“This negative picture must be reversed in the months ahead, hence, our collaboration with Mckinsey,” he stated.
Mr Nti observed that his outfit could collect more taxes than it is doing presently, and should be rubbing shoulders with the best in Africa, but has not got there yet.
“Therefore, the GRA would go after tax evaders with the full application of the tax laws,” he stated.
“GRA is now going to bite. It will not be business as usual,” he stated.
He said the GRA would name, shame and fully impose and apply sanctions, including prosecutions, garnisheeing and distress actions.
The GRA would also enforce some existing initiatives, all in the bid to widen revenue mobilisation, he said.
These initiatives include the excise tax stamp, the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), and the creation of an additional personal income tax band.
Mr Nti opined that he would want the GRA to become a household name and perceived in a positive manner, therefore, the media should always include it in their reportages, posts, analysis, discussions, and editorials.
He said his outfit had also scheduled engagements with industry players in the days ahead to discuss the new initiatives and apply them.
Mr Issac Crentsil, Commissioner, Customs Division, also indicated that he was of the hope that the initiatives would help salvage the challenges his division faces, and help the GRA meets its target.
He observed that the challenges with import revenue are due to under-invoiced documents.
He said most of the goods are under-invoiced, leading to huge losses in revenue, and cited a situation where $11.4 million worth of goods were under-invoiced last week Friday.
Mr Crentsil said he was optimistic the initiatives would help curtail the situation.