Failure Of E-VAT Invoicing: GRA’s Software Support Team Responsible For Mess

The government’s introduction of an electronic value added tax invoicing system (E-VAT) for VAT registered businesses in Ghana has hit some major roadblocks since its introduction. The new invoicing system is meant to be an improvement on how VAT transactions are invoiced. However, due to the incompetence of the GRA’s software support team write the software code and who works with the various companies to implement E-VAT, the system has failed to function properly in many companies.

Rather than taking full responsibility for the non-efficiency of the new system, GRA is rather scapegoating selected companies with the charade of media publicity to whitewash their own failure, and in the process, destroying big businesses that are employing thousands of Ghanaians and paying millions in tax revenues to government every year.

Companies such as Shoprite, MTN, Maxmart, Melcom Palace Mall etc have all been victims of the Ghana Revenue Authority’s recklessness in the past couple of weeks where the GRA has gone into their premises with rented media men, arrested managers and put out false narratives about their so-called non-compliance with E-VAT invoicing when they know that these companies have been working assiduously with the incompetent GRA software support team to resolve the challenges associated with the new system.

Inside sources within GRA itself has intimated that all issues and challenges with the new E-VAT invoicing system facing these companies have been reported to the GRA in the past several months.

There are documents from GRA sources available to support the claim that there have been several exchanges between these affected companies and the GRA over the past few months where the companies raised all the problems of the new system to the GRA and seeking the GRA’s software support team’s assistance to urgently resolve them.

However, the affected companies and their software engineers have been frustrated by delays from the GRA software support team in handling complaints concerning the real time functionality of the new system. In other words, the software code written by the GRA is a useless one that has failed to support the system.

In any case, these are challenges that does NOT lead to loss of revenues to government since, according to these companies, no sale is done without an invoice even if they are unable to print these invoices. Besides, the GRA can always determine how much these companies owe government during down time. That is what a business-minded GRA would have done.

But rather than approaching the issue professionally to ensure a win-win situation for both government and the companies affected, the GRA has chosen a populist approach where they cover their own inefficiencies, damage the reputation of these big employers and cause them to loose business and by extension, cause government to loose tax revenues.

Arresting innocent branch managers who have nothing to do with the non-functioning of the E-VAT software, displaying their images on national television and psychologically terrorising their families cannot be the right approach of a revenue authority.

GRA’s mandate is NOT to do things that will cause companies to loose business. neither are they supposed to do things that will cause government to loose tax revenue. But in this case of the E-VAT, that is exactly what GRA is doing by putting out these false stories of non-compliance to E-VAT by companies that are doing everything possible to comply and work with GRA for an efficient functioning of the new system.

GRA software support team, a South African company, without an adequate understanding of Ghana's retail business, are solely responsible for writing the software codes for the E-VAT invoicing system. Any failure of the system can therefore not be blamed on the registered companies affected but on the GRA software support team.

Unfortunately, all the delays and failures have emanated from the GRA who have now refused to take responsibility for their own failure.

GRA’s victimisation of big companies who are also big employers in Ghana, the arrests and harassment of their staff, the scare mongering among their customers, the false media narratives orchestrated by GRA all amount to attacking and destroying legitimate businesses, causing government revenues to dwindle, and may ultimately lead to a cut down on employment by these affected companies.

The Ghana Revenue Authority and their software support team must therefore take full responsibility for the failures and inefficiencies of the new E-VAT invoicing system and work with their software engineers to write the proper codes to resolve all the issues affecting the smooth operation of E-VAT. They must also desist immediately from further victimising innocent companies like Shop rite, MTN, Melcom, Maxmart and their innocent employees etc who are engaged in legitimate business in Ghana and paying due taxes to government.