Ecobank, GCB delay tax transfers, Bank of Ghana, GRA cited for poor monitoring

Two commercial banks namely Ecobank and the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) have been cited for unduly delaying the transfer of indirect taxes into the Consolidated Fund, the 2009 financial audit report of the Auditor-General which is currently before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has revealed.

The report attributed the delays to poor monitoring of transfers into the consolidated fund on the part of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) said on its website February 28, 2012.

Under an arrangement between the BoG and the two banks, they (Ecobank and GCB) are to collect on behalf of the Customs Division of the GRA’s, “indirect taxes on goods and services and transfer same into the consolidated fund within three working days on receipt”.

But in spite of the agreement, the GAS report indicated several instances of delays some of which “exceeded 500 days” in transferring monies promptly into the consolidated fund.

The delays are said to be depriving the government of Ghana prompt access to tax revenue compelling it to borrow money to finance its budget.

The audit report has therefore recommended to the BoG to evoke the appropriate sanctions against the two banks and also to ensure that they comply with the agreement and provide real time access of the transfer records to the state agencies to ensure effective monitoring of revenue collections and transfers.

By Ekow Quandzie

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