Leading retail shopping centre, Melcom has reaffirmed its commitment to the Electronic Value Added Tax (E-VAT), saying, it has exhibited full compliance and cooperated with the Ghana Revenue Authority team in implementing the E-VAT.
It has however advised the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to stop harassing its staff and the inconvenience to its loyal customers.
In a response to the Commissioner General of the GRA, Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, after the authority arrested managers of Melcom for alleged non-compliance with the E-VAT invoice, the company expressed worry about victimisation.
The retailer centre said it has been fully compliant and cooperative with the GRA team in implementing the E-VAT.
It added, “You will appreciate the fact that Melcom has been used by GRA to lead the pilot project of implementing E-VAT, whereby all the learnings taken by the GRA team had been rolled-out to others in the industry”.
It, therefore, urged the GRA to “kindly instruct concerned GRA team to look into the concerns raised by Melcom so that agreed way-forward can be achieved at the earliest”.
It added “in view of the fact that GRA action has attracted media attention, we would request you to state the facts clearly to the media again so that there is no further damage to our company’s reputation.
“Any loss of business Melcom suffered as a result of this disruption of service will be attributable to the actions of the day in reference. Request your urgent intervention to mitigate any further loss to business and the reputation”.
E-VAT implementation experienced challenges
GRA last year began implementation of the E-VAT across all Melcom outlets spread across Ghana as well as other supermarkets and shopping centres.
To this end, the GRA and the Melcom team rolled out the E-VAT successfully within the set timeframe
Melcom mentioned that the exercise has been a good learning experience for both the teams “while we walked together with single-minded agenda of successful implementation. The exercise helped Melcom to bring all the competition on the fair-play field and we are excited about this”.
However, it said “during the process of the implementation, there were some concern areas which had been duly appraised to GRA core team (both Technical and non-technical) so that these can be fully resolved at the earliest possible.
“In this regard, we had a meeting with the GRA team and deliberated on each and every point to agree on the way forward and timelines for the solution. Minutes of the meeting dated November 16, 2022, on the subject have been appended for your records and easy reference please”.
“Further to appraise you that there had been frequent API and other technical challenges resulting in failure to get E-VAT stamp on some of our invoices.
“These failures have been duly and regularly highlighted to both technical and non-technical teams as per the guidelines made available to us, for immediate resolution by the GRA team”, Melcom stated.
To ensure full compliance with the laws of the land, Melcom, explained that “these invoices are parallel updated into GRA portal, (as per the advice by GRA team), immediately once the issue is resolved, although VAT is fully charged on these invoices and there is no loss to GRA revenue and/ or control mechanism.
“Unfortunately, on the face of these failed invoices, it appears to a layman that Melcom is non-compliant to E-VAT, which actually is not the case!”
Melcom further added that the unaddressed concerns pointed to a major challenge for the teams to work on data reconciliation between its server and GRA’s server and further troubleshoot the technical hitches.
These hiccups it said were reported to the GRA team over the phone and WhatsApp groups specifically made for troubleshooting, but unfortunately, these were not addressed by the GRA team.
It attached the “branch downtime” for the months of December 22 and January 23 for reference, although these were updated to the GRA core team on daily basis.
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