North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

The Member of Parliament for North Tongu has said that government does not need to impose new taxes on citizens to ensure it generates the needed revenue to undertake developmental projects.

Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa stated that government has been preventing itself from generating enough resources due to deliberate tax irregularities.

Citing the 2018 Auditor General’s report, he noted that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) failed to collect a “staggering” GH¢2.66 billion from businesses and wealthy individuals “despite the millions of dollars struggling poor taxpayers spent on their rather opaque contract with the McKenzie Company Inc. in 2017 ostensibly to improve efficiency.”

In a Facebook post, he stated that “lawless GRA which is clearly in contempt of the Supreme Court for going ahead to implement the unconstitutional and repugnant E-Levy” should be made to address its challenges rather than take more from citizens.

He, therefore, quizzed: “When is government going to stop punishing every Ghanaian because of its own inefficiency, collusion and corruption?”

“A government that enjoys compounding the burdens of the poor masses as it colludes with big businesses and connected individuals to evade taxes does not deserve our support to impose additional regressive revenue measures,” he added.

For the North Tongu MP, a “top-notch efficiency, accountability and a ruthless climate led by incorruptible leaders determined to punish corruption without selectivity” is what Ghana needs to ensure enough resources are generated and not draconian taxes.

Mr. Ablakwa’s comments come a day after the implementation of the Electronic Transaction levy (E-levy). From May 1, Ghanaians will be taxed 1.5% on electronic transactions that are above GH¢100. However, some transactions below the threshold have been taxed.

According to the GRA, this is because charging entities; Telcos, Banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and specialized deposit-taking institutions; are charging from their individual systems.

The Authority has noted that steps are being taken to address the challenges.

“We have shared some guidelines to the charging entities on how to reverse those legitimate transfers that are not supposed to attract the levy.

The second category also relates to that same off-net where people are sending below 100 cedis and are being charged. That has come to our attention and we are in communication with the charging entities to look into that,” Head of Project Management, Isaac Kobina Amoako, said on JoyNews’ AM Show on Monday.

2018 Auditor General’s report

The 2018 Auditor General’s report revealed that tax irregularities formed 92.15% of the total financial infraction reported.

Included in this tax irregularity was GH¢33,675,044 due from ten oil marketing companies who failed to pay taxes on petroleum products lifted at TOR between November 2016 and November 2017.

“These irregularities could be attributed mainly to failure on the part of the Ghana Revenue Authority to collect tax revenue and also apply measures and sanctions against defaulters.

I recommended that Management of GRA should strengthen its monitoring and supervision of its staff. They should also take steps to improve efficiency in tax administration, collection and follow up on overdue taxes while applying sanctions as prescribed by the tax laws,” the report added.