The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has celebrated its success achieved in revenue collection for last year with a renewed energy to exceed the GHC55 billion targets for 2020.
At an interfaith thanksgiving service, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, urged the staff of GRA to demonstrate the transformation of ethics and values in the sense of professionalism when dealing with clients to enable them to achieve the 2020 target.
Last year, the GRA exceeded the target of GH?42billion (reviewed in the mid-year budget from GHC46billion) by collecting GHC43.5billion in taxes, thus GHC1.5billion more than projected.
The Finance Minister in the 2020 Budget pegged the revenue target at GH?55billion.
He said the GRA played a critical role in the economy towards achieving a Ghana Beyond Aid and remained the single most important state institution as its mandate was crucial to the revenue generation of 70 per cent of the country’s needed funds.
He commended the staff for the feat achieved last year, saying that under the current leadership, there was remarkable work done especially “what you did in December (raking in more revenue to exceed the target) was quite clear that we can do greater things…I know you can do it”.
Mr Ofori-Atta said: “if we try, we can get there and we should get there for ourselves and for our children’s sake.”
He said the Ministry was looking closely at how it could review the entire tax system of the country, by ensuring that everyone paid their taxes to help the Authority rake in more revenue.
The sector Minister said there was the need to digitalise the tax payment and collection system to ensure that everybody could pay their taxes easily.
On his side, Professor Emeritus Stephen Adei, the Board Chairman of the GRA, urged the staff to put in the needed abilities to ensure the achievement of this year’s target of GH?55billion.
“I hope you will help me to be able to say to whoever are the political powers to leave us and we will deliver,” Prof Adei said, adding that, it meant that when it came to tax collection, no one should be exempted.
He said the GH?55billion target represents 26 per cent increase on this year “but I don’t think 26 is that big, because we expect inflation to be around eight per cent and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Minister promised would grow by 7.5 per cent.
That means that if we didn’t do anything, by the growth of the GDP, we have 7.5 per cent making 15.5 (thus adding to the expected inflation rate to the promised GDP growth).
So in real terms, we are setting a target of only 11.5 per cent and I think that you have the capacity to do it,” Prof Adei said.
He hinted that the GRA Board will by the end of this month continue its shake-up and that, it was time when people should earn their positions not necessarily by longevity or by alliances or being asked to act but because “you are the best”.
The joint interfaith thanksgiving service was characterised by an exhortation from representations of the Islamic and Christian faith and with a prayer for the country, stakeholders and the Ghana Revenue Authority.