The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Thursday inaugurated a Debt Management and Compliance Enforcement Unit (DMCE) to create a uniform organizational approach to debt recovery and compliance.
The DMCE will serve as a central coordinating unit for enforcement and debt management of Domestic Tax Revenue Division and Customs Division and would among others monitor levels of total debt stock owed by taxpayers to GRA.
In an address, Mr George Blankson, the Commissioner General GRA, said the level of debt stock in the books constituted a significant challenge to the organisation’s operations and that the new unit would holistically look at the challenge and find appropriate solution.
He said the optimization of revenue collection was the overarching corporate goal of the on-going reform in the revenue sector, adding that if the goal was to be achieved there was the need to monitor more closely debts owed by taxpayers, recover them and enforce the tax laws and policies more rigorously.
There is also the need to control revenue leakage, raise collection levels and increase the tax/GDP ratio in line with appropriate international standards.
However, Mr Blankson said the establishment of the Debt Management and Compliance Enforcement (DMCE) Unit was not meant to duplicate the work of the various Enforcement and Debt Management Units (EDMs) of the Domestic Tax Revenue and Customs Divisions.
Rather, he said, the DMCE Unit would coordinate debt management and compliance activities and support debt management and enforcement units in the outfield offices to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Among other functions, the DMCE will facilitate information sharing among departments; create a uniform organizational approach to debt recovery and compliance and promote voluntary compliance by instituting measures that will render non-compliance unattractive.
In a speech read for him, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning appealed to the staff of the unit not to use the powers given them arbitrarily.
“It is pertinent to remind you that there is always the tendency to compromise the ethics of your profession for personal gains by virtue of the exercise of the powers granted you. However, I encourage you to hold onto the principles of integrity, while at the same time being fair to the numerous taxpayers you will come into contact with in your service delivery,” he said.