Mr. Ken Ofori Atta, Minister for Finance, has revised revenue targets for 2018 downward from GH¢51, 039.1 million stated in the 2018 budget to GH¢50, 686.2 million, 0.7 percent lower, based on the lower than expected revenues in the first five months of the year.
Total revenue and Grants for January to May 2018,, fell short of the target by 0.6 percent; GH¢1,428.7 million while total expenditures fell below that target by GH¢796.5 million, leading to a cash deficit of GH¢6, 371.8 million; 2.6 percent of GDP, against a target of 2.4 percent of GDP.
Presenting the Mid-year Budget to Parliament on Thursday, Ofori Atta said, in order to meet this new revenue target, the changes in revenues and expenditure figures would lead to a fiscal deficit of GH¢11, 841.2 million (4.9 percent of GDP) against a programmed target of GH¢10, 971.1 (4.5 percent of GDP).
This would require a net fiscal adjustment of GH¢870 million in order to achieve the target fiscal deficit of 4.5 percent and keep fiscal consolidation on track and safeguard public debt levels.
He said focus would be on improving tax compliance measures as well as plugging existing revenue leakages.
In line with this, it will form special VAT Attack force to ensure enforcement of tax obligations and to increase VAT penetration from the current 11 percent.
He said the Ministry had contracted experts to work alongside GRA staff to conduct forensic audit of companies in the private sector and to audit multinational enterprises to detect transactions that were a result of transfer pricing activities in order for the appropriate taxes to the met.
The GRA would also work with relevant state authorities to embark on an exercise to prosecute and retrieve government revenues that have been lost due to tax evasions or malfeasance. The authority would also intensify its audit activities on withholding tax, VAT, and Rent tax to ensure compliance.
Other tax initiatives, to help government hit its revenue targets for 2018 would include education would be intensified on the Tax Identification Number registration following the expiration of the tax amnesty at the end of August 2018.