GRA institutes measures to maximise revenue mobilisation
In order to maximise revenue mobilisation despite the dangers of the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), the Ghana Revenue Authority has come out with three strong policies that will enable it achieve its revenue target.
At a media engagement hinged on the Theme ‘Tax Compliance and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of the media’, the GRA indicated that it fell short of a 6.9% tax revenue due to the impact of the Covid-19.
The engagement was to brief the inky fraternity, who are partners of the GRA, on the transformation agenda the Authority has adopted to maximise revenue though the pandemic lingers on
Speaking about the impact of the Covid-19 on revenue performance in a speech read on behalf of the Acting Commissioner-General, Rev. Ammisadai Owusu-Amoah, he indicated that the total tax revenue collected for the half year of 2020 was GH¢19,955.31 million as against a target of GH¢21,423.14 million, resulting in a negative deviation of 6.9%.
He indicated that domestic tax, however, performed well as it raked in GH¢15, 397.05 million out of a budgeted target of GH¢14,173.76, while Customs under performed by collecting GH¢4,558.26 million out of the GH¢6,649.38 target.
He, however, indicated that the GRA, as an organisation, was determined to put its shoulders to the wheel to achieve our ‘challenge target’ of GH¢55 million in these ‘not normal times’ by rolling out some good policies.
Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS)
One of the major policies the GRA said it had put in place to ensure good service delivery that will enable it mobilise more revenue is the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS).
ICUMS is an end-to-end system designed to increase trade facilitation and reduce the turnaround time, Mr Gilbert Ohene, Head of ICUMS said.
According to him, the system has been deployed for the primary use of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other relevant stakeholders involved in cross-border trade.
He indicated that the purpose of the system is to allow traders at the various ports use a single application to fulfil all licences, certificates, and permits requirements.
Traders can also use the system to track funds transfers through the banking system for purchase of goods in foreign exchange, and their subsequent declaration of value based on transferred money. This reduces the possibility of under valuation, Mr Ohene said.
He said the system will also reduce cost and time spent in clearing goods, because it allows the user to make payment at the bank, even before arrival of his/her cargo.
Domestic Tax Revenue Division
Another policy the GRA has put in place is the restructuring of its Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) offices.
Mr Thomas K. Agorsor, Head of DTRD, said the GRA commenced the first phase of a nationwide restructuring exercise in Accra and Kumasi in August.
The aim is to establish offices, not on the basis of turnovers, as it was previously, but rather with respect to jurisdiction, he said.
He said this restructuring exercise now allows the taxpayers to file returns at the nearest Taxpayer Service Centre (TSCs), irrespective of turnover, to create convenience for taxpayers and free them to use their time for other productive ventures.
He also indicated that at the TSC offices, the taxpayer can now file returns, make payments, register for Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) and tax types, make complaints, enquiries, and receive tax education.
The last, but not the least, is the GRA-e Services that has been put in place.
According to the Head of the e-Services, Mr Patrick Frimpong-Danso, the system comes with a tax computation tool, an internet portal, online service delivery system, and an integrated system.
The benefit of the system is to bring GRA services to the doorsteps of taxpayers in order to improve on the ease of doing business, while reducing cost and time required by the taxpayer to comply with tax laws.
It is also to assist taxpayers to keep the records required to fulfil their tax obligations, and improve the quality of tax returns submitted by taxpayers, as well as providing a convenient, simple and accurate means for taxpayers to compute their tax returns and liabilities.
He called on Ghanaians to embrace all these new services and upgrades by the GRA to ensure the effective collection of tax revenue for the development of the country.