Mrs Abena Osei-Asare, the Deputy Finance Minister in charge of Revenue, has reaffirmed government commitment to addressing revenue shortfalls, a long-standing challenge for the country, through collaborative efforts.
She said with the economy on the path of recovery, the government’s ability to advance revenue mobilization would underpin efforts to continually empathize and support Ghanaian businesses and households while building back a more resilient economy.
Mrs Osei-Asare said this on Wednesday at the launch of the Revenue Assurance, Compliance and Enforcement (RACE), a set of strategic interventions to revitalize and uphold the compliance and enforcement of the revenue regime.
The initiative in the medium-term expects to achieve and sustain a higher degree of assurance in the improvement of national revenue mobilization for socio-economic transformation.
The RACE initiative was inspired by two challenges- the reality of endemic non-compliance and non-enforcement of revenue measures to support critically needed budgets for development and the urgent need to empower Ghanaians and improve their living conditions.
“RACE offers us a more holistic approach to addressing the intractable challenge of improving revenue by broadening the base of the tax-paying net as well as ensuring compliance with existing taxpayers.”
“This is a well-consulted and collaborative initiative that enables the government to identify and eliminate revenue leakages in key sectors of the economy,” she said.
She said the government had demonstrated a transparent commitment to investing in the welfare of the citizenry and combined key structural reforms and prudent fiscal stewardship with a growth strategy to implement key transformative interventions to improve the quality of lives of Ghanaians.
The Deputy Minister said the government was cognizant that the RACE initiative required a broad-based partnership that created synergies and compliments the unique strengths of institutions and agencies.
“As a result, we have assembled a wider stakeholder group that will sustain the RACE initiative and government expects that these relationships and support system will create an enabling ecosystem to nourish the implementation of agreed commitment under the initiative,” she said.
She said the government was not only setting out to mobilize abundant revenue for the sake of it but to transform more lives and living conditions, create more decent jobs for a teeming youth, provide more access to quality education, including Free SHS and school feeding and accelerate the delivery of quality healthcare, including the implementation of the Agenda 111.
Reverend Ammishadai Owusu- Amoah, the Commissioner-General, Ghana Revenue Authority, said the effectiveness of RACE was tied to enhanced digitization, a key area the Authority had explored to aid revenue collection both at the Domestic Tax Revenue Division and the Customs Division.
Key amongst the digitization efforts, he said include the introduction from July 2021 of the cashless system as well as the introduction in the early part of 2020 of the Integrated Customs Management System.
He said the interventions were intended to make the filing and payment of taxes more convenient for taxpayers, block revenue leakages to promote voluntary tax compliance and facilitate trade.
“The collaboration with other agencies such as the National Security, the National Investigation Bureau, Financial Intelligence Centre and the Economic and Organised Crime Office will help meet our target of additional GHc 30 billion in three years and transform GRA into a formidable and competitive tax administration”, he said.
Major General Francis Adu Amanfo (Rtd), the National Security Coordinator, said the RACE initiative from the security perspective would prevent illegal activities in revenue mobilization and remove bureaucracies, which lead to corruption.
“The public should be rest assured that the enforcement and compliance measures to be implemented through RACE will be guided by integrity, transparency, and accountability, all of which shall be expressed through the highest levels of professionalism,” he said.