Ghana government told to brand projects financed with taxes
Branding such facilities, Mr Benedict Doh, Finance Manager, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), said would make Ghanaians have ‘ready evidence’ of the essence of paying taxes.
He explained that it would make Ghanaians repose confidence in the Tax and Revenue Administration system, and in so doing, pay willingly to support Government’s development agenda.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, Mr Doh said: “If the citizens are able to identify those projects, which the taxes are used to fund, it makes it easier for people to pay voluntary.”
He also said: “That is what we want to encourage the Government to do; appropriately label projects that they use taxpayers’ money to fund as funded with taxpayers’ money.”
It would help address the complaints many make about not seeing what the Government was doing with taxes paid.
Mr Doh who also is a Tax Analyst said: “We know the Government uses revenues from taxes to fund some of the development projects. But several of them are even ‘labelled as GoG funded.’ That is great, but let’s go to the next level of labelling them specifically as being ‘funded with taxpayers’ money, if it is so.”
“We know that the part of tax revenues that goes into capital expenditure is not that much. But as little as it might be, if people begin to see projects funded with taxpayers’ money, and labelled appropriately, it will have a positive impact on their willingness to contribute,” he emphasised.
Apart from the labelling projects financed with taxes for easy identification by the citizenry, Mr Doh called on the Government to work towards making loans attractive to businesspeople.
He said: “Beyond that, we should also see issues of corruption being tackled decisively by the Government, because most people think the resources are not being managed very well by the State, and that does not encourage them to pay.”
The Finance Manager encouraged the Government to make its digitisation processes benefit people in rural communities by introducing payment and transactions platforms like SMS and educate them on the use of such platforms.
He also asked the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to intensify its public education, especially in rural areas.
Ghana is currently facing challenges to meet its revenue target despite the introduction of the Electronic Transactions Levy (E-Levy), which is to widen the tax net and add about GHS 6.9 billion (initial target) to the country’s 2022 revenue. A study by GII has shown that many Ghanaian businesses and other taxpayers were being forced to avoid the payment of taxes because of the current economic hardship on their productivity and profit.
About 1.5 million out of the six million eligible Ghanaian taxpayers pay tax, making Ghana one of the lowest Tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in Africa.
Stakeholders have, therefore, called for collaborative efforts to change the situation to engender voluntary compliance among Ghanaians while urging the Government to have a robust and well-structured system to increase the tax contribution and compliance.