Accra, Nov 6, GNA-The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) in partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has outdoored its digital platform to encourage tax compliance and control tax evasion.
The platform: www.opentaxghana.com will give the citizenry the opportunity to be fully engaged in supporting the laws and administrative processes that deal with the challenges of tax revenue mobilization.
The platform was supported by the Department for International Development, UK.
A statement signed by Mr Benjamin Boakye, the Executive Director of ACEP and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said the platform would also promote voluntary compliance on the part of the public by providing tax education and tax law enforcement through the cooperation of the public.
He said through the platform, the gaps that allowed tax evasion schemes to occur can be identified and addressed as it provided opportunity for the public to share experiences on practices that deprived the state of tax revenue.
“There is the whistle blower section that enables people to anonymously report tax evasion schemes. The whistle blower is already protected under the whistle blower Act, 2006 (Act 720) and will be rewarded with 10 per cent of tax revenues that the GRA will successfully recover following tax evasion reporting”.
Mr Boakye said the platform would improve transparency and accountability by providing information to citizens on government revenue trends and how the revenues were utilized.
Mr Boakye noted that the country was in a tight fiscal situation, and that the platform would help improve domestic tax revenue mobilization to reduce dependence on debts for development financing.
He said domestic revenue mobilization through taxation was very weak, especially in the extractive sector, saying the platform would help curtailed these lapses and improve on the country’s revenue mobilisation.
“According to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), the state lost an estimated GHC 850 million in revenue in 2016 as a result of illegal trade in petroleum products in the downstream petroleum sector.
“There is a bigger challenge with tax collection from the country’s informal sector. About 1.2 million people are recognized tax payers, out of which only 200,000 come from the informal sector,” he added.
He said addressing these challenges of tax revenue mobilization required the effort of all and sundry especially government since the capacity of the State to detect complex tax evasion schemes was limited.
The Executive Director said the reality that tax to Ghana’s Domestic Product ratio was about 15.4 per cent in 2016 was an indication that Ghanaians were demanding more from government than they contributed.
“ACEP believes that as the public engage with the platform to support the GRA in fighting the problem of tax evasion to increase tax revenue mobilization, more resources will be made available to support the country’s developmental agenda,” he added.