There is an ongoing discussion to revise upward the GH¢45.4billion tax revenue target for the 2019 fiscal year, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Emmanuel Kofi Nti, has disclosed.
“Considering government’s objective of Ghana Beyond Aid, there is ongoing discussion to revise the 2019 revenue target upward. The GRA will marshal all its efforts to considerably improve on its collections for the year,” he said.
Speaking at a media briefing in Accra, Mr. Nti explained that to achieve the 2019 tax revenue collection target, other measures which will be pursued include stepping-up activities to identify and plug revenue leakages, and implementation of the Electronic Point of Sale Device as a way of improving the Value Added Tax (VAT) collection.
Other measures are: full implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp Policy; an effective and full implementation of the Taxpayer Identification Number as a requirement for carrying out transactions with identified state agencies; and regular and consistent visits to business centres by GRA staff complemented by NABCO personnel to register more tax payers.
Mr. Nti indicated that the Authority is poised to work at increasing the compliance level of professionals, adding that professionals such as lawyers, Accountants, Architects, Surveyors, Doctors and others will be made to pay their fair share of taxes in accordance with the law, including the issuance of VAT receipts for their services.
2018 revenue target missed
Mr. Nti explained that the Authority missed the 2018 tax revenue collection target of GH¢39,802billion by GH¢2171.73million – representing a negative variance of 5.5 percent.
Thus, he indicated that GRA collected GH¢37,630.54billion – representing 94.5 percent of the target.
“Although the Authority did not achieve the set revenue target, it must be stated that the 2018 revenue performance achieved a normal growth rate of 16.4 percent over the 2017 collection. Domestic revenue grew by 24.4 percent while Customs revenue grew by 3.9 percent.
“Even for 2018 when we faced considerable challenges, we were able to achieve a 16.4 growth over the 2017 collection. It is my expectation that we will achieve the projected upward revised target,” he said.
Among some of the reasons for the 2018 performance, Mr. Nti explained that the domestic tax recorded a positive deviation due to increase in compliance as a result of continuously monitoring taxpayers.
He added that domestic tax, rigorous tax collection efforts and retrieval of arrears from defaulting taxpayers were undertaken – indicating that even though the withholding on VAT helped performance, the expected implementation of the Electronic Point of Sales could not materialize…thus affecting performance.
Implementation of the Excise Tax Stamp policy, he said, faced a lot of resistance from the beverage industry. To amicably resolve the challenges, “we had several stakeholder consultations culminating in their adoption of the policy”.
This, he confirmed, delayed the process and thereby negatively affected performance of the tax type.
Regarding import duties and levies, he explained that the increase of goods imported into the economy through the suspense regimes, and the impact of zero-rated goods, negatively affected performance.
On some of the measures GRA instituted aimed at achieving the 2018 revenue target, Mr. Nti outlined: implementation of the Tax Amnesty policy; the Excise Tax Stamp Policy; and enforcing the law on Taxpayer Identification Numbers as a requirement for transacting business with certain government agencies.
“We launched the tax and good governance week to encourage filing tax returns by the public. There was also the campaign to rope more operators in the informal sector into the tax net.
“We also introduced the Cargo Tracking Note to enhance the classification and valuation of imports among others,” he remarked.