Emmanuel Kofi Nti – GRA Boss
With barely a month left to the end of 2017, some key revenue agencies operating under the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) have met their revenue targets, DAILY GUIDE has gathered.
Information available to the paper suggests that the various agencies such as Customs Division and Domestic Tax Division, have almost met their targets due to hard work, contrary to the expression of pessimism by some supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the GRA was not going to meet its revenue target for the year due to the cancelation of several taxes imposed by the previous administration.
It would be recalled that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, in the 2017 budget statement, scrapped several taxes it described as “nuisance” to make life better for Ghanaians and traders.
Among the taxes cancelled were the 17.5 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported medicines not produced in Ghana, 17.5 percent VAT on domestic airline tickets, 5 percent VAT on real estate sales and the 17. 5 percent VAT on financial services.
The announcement of the abolishment of the above taxes among several other pro-poor packages in the 2017 budget by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, was greeted with disbelief by leading members of the NDC who were of the opinion that the Akufo-Addo government, with Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia as head of the Economic Management Team, might not meet its tax mobilization target due to the scrapping of the several taxes.
Former Deputy Finance Minister under the erstwhile Mahama administration, Casiel Ato Forson, had for instance, described the 2017 budget statement as ‘deceptive’ and ‘populist’ because of its several packages directed at easing the burden of the masses – such as the scrapping of the kayayei levy and duty on spare parts.
The performance of GRA per the various divisions from January to October 2017 shows that domestic tax collections for the year totalled GH¢15.412 billion as against a target of GH¢15.550 billion.
This far outweighed the performance in the previous year under the NDC administration.
The Domestic Tax Division collected GH¢21.774 billion in the same period under review, making this year’s over 18 percent higher than that of last year’s, despite the cancellation of the nuisance taxes.
The Domestic Division, as at the end of October, was left with less than one percent to achieve its target for the year – with two months to go.
Also, at the Customs Division, a total of GH¢10.433 billion has reportedly been collected so far as against a set target of GH¢11.287.97 billion, with a total tax revenue of the GRA standing at GH¢25.845 billion as against GH¢26,837 billion for the year.
Customs performance, as against last year’s, was equally higher – having raked in over GH¢1.8 billion more.
DAILY GUIDE also understands that under the energy debt recovery levy, a sum of GH¢1,063.10 billion has been collected as against GH¢1.121.58 billion, giving a grand total tax revenue collected so far as GH¢26.908 billion as against GH¢27.959.57 billion – a difference of GH¢1.050 billion.
By Melvin Tarlue