Tax evasion is the major challenge in Ghana – Awal

Ibrahim Awal Mohammed

Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, the Minister of Business Development, has said the evasion of taxes in the country, was hurting government’s quest to mobilise revenue for development.

“The biggest challenge in this country is tax evasion, 12 million people are working in Ghana and less than two million people pay tax and this is not acceptable. There are big, medium and small companies dodge taxes, they do under-invoicing

“We need to marshal resources to support the education, health and improve infrastructure all over the country but this cannot be done without the government’s ability to mobilise local resource. Without adequate local resource mobilization the Ghana Beyond Aid, cannot be realized,” he said.

The Minister said this when he launched TheIntegrityApp a new digital tool that seeks to enhance compliance capacities available for businesses thereby detecting and preventing corruption in Accra.

The App launch, was a kick-off event of a two-day training for businesses on Responsible Business and Integrity organised by the Alliance for Integrity and the Global Compact Network Germany.

To address the canker, Dr Awal proposed the formation of an alliance involving the diplomatic community, the media, businesses, integrity and corruption crusaders to support government pursuit to fight the issue of tax evasion to generate revenue to develop the country.

“It is not only local businesses but some foreign businesses in the attempt to settle in the country sometimes circumvent the rules. This is not acceptable. If you are a new business coming in and someone wants you to pay bribe to expose the fellow.

“Every business needs to be ethical and go by the rules for the country to receive the respective revenue. No country develops without local revenue mobilization. We cannot continue to depend on aid to develop, for the past 60 years we have been deepening on aid and it has not helped us,” he noted.

The Minister called on businesses to position their firms by complying with rules and regulations to be able to compete on the global arena.

Dr Awal entreated all businesses to make use of the app in order to enhance their compliance management systems and also influence their supply chain partners to do likewise.

As a commitment towards ensuring compliance, he said TheIntegrityApp would be one of the prerequisites qualifications for funding entrepreneurs.

Mr Christian Widmann, Acting Country Director, GIZ Ghana noted that in order for the Ghanaian business to find and attract investors, they needed to create the necessary ecosystem.

Mr Widmann noted that the Alliance for Integrity, in the past two and half years, has been active in Ghana and had contributed to improving framework conditions by fostering dialogue between the public and private sector.

He mentioned that businesses needed to meet and respect basic requirements, including no forced labour, no child labour, gender equality and fair wages adding that, it was not easy for businesses to follow these principles.

Mr Widmann stated that the economic relations between Germany and Ghana had a good and longstanding tradition and that bilateral trade totalled more than €480 million in 2017.

The Acting Country Director disclosed that companies from Germany were showing a growing interest in Ghana and several German firms had recently opened regional offices in the country.

Source: GNA

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