The Upper East Regional Tax Justice Coalition (TJC), an advocacy organization, has called on government to review the current tax system to expand the tax net and collect more revenue for national development.
The Coalition said taxation was the major source of funding for the country’s development projects, however, about 90 per cent of the potential taxpayers were left out of the tax net leading to low mobilization of resources for national development.
This has therefore compelled Ghana to depend on external aid to finance most of the country’s projects including roads, schools, and hospitals among others.
The Coalition made the call at a stakeholders’ meeting in Bolgatanga, organized by the Rural Initiative for Self Empowerment Ghana (RISE-Ghana), a Non-Governmental Organization with funding from Action Aid Ghana, another NGO.
The purpose of the meeting was to build the capacities of Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and business owners among other stakeholders to enable them engage in evidence based tax justice advocacy and support local revenue mobilization efforts.
Mr Awal Ahmed Kariama, the Executive Director of RISE-Ghana, said the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda was achievable if measures were taken to expand the tax net to cover all businesses and individuals who were supposed to pay tax and block all loopholes in the collection and dispensation of the tax.
The Executive Director urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to improve on tax filing and payment systems particularly implementing an online system of payment to enable taxpayers to easily and comfortably file and pay their tax.
Mr Kariama further urged the Management of the GRA to intensify their tax compliance education to enable taxpayers fully appreciate the need to sincerely honour their tax obligations for sustainable national development.
He said corruption was another major challenge that discouraged people from paying tax and urged government to ensure that the various taxes collected were used judiciously for the development and wellbeing of the people.
Mr Yussif Musah Braimah, the Acting Manager, Bolgatanga Small Taxpayer Office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, who took the participants through the types of taxes, said payment of tax was a law and a constitutional requirement.
He said article 41 of the 1992 Constitution enjoins every citizen particularly income earners to honestly declare their incomes, file their returns and pay their tax to enable government finance its budget.
The Acting Manager underscored the need for public cooperation in the effective mobilization of the tax and urged the public to volunteer information on individuals and business owners who evade tax for appropriate action to be taken.