The Ghana Revenue Authority has outlined measures to help boost revenue for the government as the coronavirus pandemic hit the various sectors of the economy.

Speaking on PM EXPRESS BUSINESS EDITION on the JoyNews Channel, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah said, “The Revenue Authority is like any other business or any other individual in the midst of storms you need to retreat, look at the situation, look at what has happened and try to strategize to see how do you keep yourself going.

“What we are doing today is really looking at the targets, looking at the areas that have been affected. Reviewing the expectations of these areas that have been affected. We are doing assessment and we will be able to come out with what we see as the realistic revenue that we can anticipate from these areas…”

He added, “therefore I expect that by the time we come to the mid-year review, we will work together with our sector Ministry and be able to work out our expectations. But in all these things we don’t have to just fold your arms and say nothing can happen.”

Mr Owusu-Amoah said, “The year started quite well, January, February but from March and April the revenue has started going down and therefore we need to strategize to find ways of meeting some of the revenues. Some of the areas that you expect to some falls include the excise duties.

“We have done a lot of analysis as the Minister of Finance already presented to parliament. We will also be looking at it again when we are coming to the mid-year and together with our sector ministry we will be able to come out with how deep the hole would be and what are the plans that we have put in place to ensure that we mitigate the hole.”

E-commerce

He said while other sectors are being hit hard by the covid- 19 pandemic, some other sectors like the communication sector is booming. “Today data is one thing we are all consuming therefore we expect that those in that sector should see their revenues going up.”

On ways to get e-commerce firms to pay taxes, Mr Amishadia said “as at this moment, we have still not started taxing e-commerce. It is one of the things that are already in our strategic plan that we are working on for this year and therefore we will come out with it at the right time.
“As part of our strategies, we also have the VAT which we are automating, we are looking at the Integrated Tax Application end-to-end that is also being worked on. So these are certain initiatives that are ongoing,” he added.

Tax officers

On measures being taken to protect tax officers during this period, Mr Owusu-Amoah said the GRA has made available enough PPEs, sanitizers for tax officers to be able to perform their duty. “…we’ve also been able to get our Customs laboratory to produce our own sanitizers some of which we currently use in most of our offices.”

He added, “So currently we don’t buy any sanitizers from any vendor, we supply enough sanitizers for all our 14,000 staff across the country and enough also for all our taxpayers who come into our offices. This ensures that both the taxpayer and our officers are protected.

“In addition, we’ve also allowed for some of the staff to work from home, we are even ordering about 3000 laptops so that we can have them work from home.”

Revenue target

The government in its 2020 budget statement planned to raise GH¢67.1 billion, representing 16.9 percent of GDP, in total revenue.

Out of the total expected figure for next year, GH¢65.8 billion is to be raised from domestic revenue, representing an annual growth of 22.5 percent over the projected resources for 2019.

Financing gap

According to the Bank of Ghana, “Preliminary assessments show that the financing gap that was estimated at the time of applying for the IMF RCF in March has widened significantly, resulting in a large residual financing gap.”