Ghana Revenue Authority engages services of Mckinsey Group

Accra- The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has secured the services of Mckinsey Group, an international consulting firm, to offer its expertise to help boost revenue generation.

Speaking at a media forum in Accra, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, the Commissioner-General of the GRA, said the Group’s engagement was to help change GRA’s systems to be comparable to the best in revenue administration in the world through simplified processes and innovation.

The Group would also train and build the skills of staff and help develop a mind-set of constant improvement through sourcing for ideas to change and improve the Authority.

The Group is here to help improve on professionalism and the change management process in GRA, Mr Nti said.

Mr Nti said under the improvement process of the Ghana Revenue Enhancement and Transformation (GREAT) Project, the GRA had scheduled engagements with players in the various sectors of the economy, dubbed Industry Forums, to discuss new initiatives as applicable to them.

To enhance compliance, the Commissioner-General noted that the GRA would henceforth go after tax evaders with the full application of tax laws, especially after the expiration of the granted grace period through the tax amnesty.

The days of impunity about a non-compliance with the tax laws are over. GRA is now going to bite. It is not going to be business as usual. We want the public to take note that we will be going after evaders, he said.

As part of the new initiatives to achieve and uplift revenue mobilisation in the next two years, the Authority would name and shame as well as impose and apply sanctions, including prosecutions, garnishing and distress actions, Mr Nti stated.

On the Excise Tax Stamp, which started from January 1 2018, Mr Nti said full enforcement would commence in the coming weeks to ensure compliance.

He said the introduction of the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), Cargo Tracking Note (CTN), and creation of an additional personal income tax band and the restructuring of VAT as enacted into law following the mid-year budget review, would help in improving tax revenues.

The GRA from January 1 to August 31 this year collected GH22.6 billion out of a targeted GH24.46 billion, recording a negative deviation of G.80 billion.

As at August 2018, Customs has registered a negative deviation of G.7 billion, while the Domestic Tax Revenue Division had an overall fall of GH83.79million. This negative picture must be reversed in the months ahead. We are aiming at a better performance than this, Mt Nti said.

The Commissioner-General called on the media to support the GRA by providing reports and discussions on initiatives designed to improve operations and outcomes as well as offer feedback and information on tax defaulters to enable the GRA track them down.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sanity returns to Accra Central Library

Accra- Management of the Ghana Library Authority (GLA) has evicted traders occupying its premises to create a serene and safe environment for library users.

The Accra Central Library, once described as the most beautiful edifice in Gold Coast, was opened in 1956 by the Governor, Sir Charles Arden Clarke and this was the formative years of public library system.

The headquarters library as it is often referred, for the past 30 years, has been turned into a market arena with various trading activities on its premises, creating a noisy environment for users of the Lending and Reference Libraries.

Mr Hayford Siaw, the Acting Executive Director, GLA told the GNA after the eviction exercise that many parents initially did not feel safe with the easy pass of pedestrians and hence uncomfortable to leave their children in the library.

He said on assumption of office in January, the new Management issued a directive to all traders on the premises to relocate their businesses.

He said a three-month notice was given and the tenants requested for an additional three months which was agreed.

Mr Siaw said “in spite of the resistance by traders to relocate after the expiry of the six months, Management remained resolute and today, the once market arena is quite and serene.”

He said over the years, various governments have neglected the Authority, which led to it being a de-prioritised institution.

The Acting Executive Director said in many countries, public and school libraries play critical roles in improving learning outcomes.

This was, however, not the case as various educational strategic plans ignored the pivotal role of the library institution.

He said this has led to the collapse of school and under resourced public libraries, resulting in a low reading culture of students.

He said it was for this reason that Government was putting in place measures to improve the existing library facilities around the country including stocking it with new books, computers and internet access.

He said a digital library would soon be launched that affords all students access to an online library portal.

He said ”to achieve this noble goals, we need to make sure that our facilities are safe and all efforts will be put in place to sanitise these spaces and create the enabling environment for learning.”

On patronage of library services across the country, the Acting Executive Director said ”over 333,509 people visited the 60 libraries across its network in the first half of 2018, a more than 37 per cent increase in visits over the same period in 2017.

He said the New Library membership for the first half of the year also stood at 5075, a 13 per cent increase over the same period in 2017.

He attributed the growth to increased patronage to the outreach programmes and visibility being created by the new management about the authority.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Elorm Ametepe appointed new PRO of Ministry of Health

Accra- Mr Elorm Ametepe, a staff of Information Services Department (ISD) of the Ministry of Information, has been appointed as the new Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health.

A statement signed by Nana Kwabena Adjei-Mensah, the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Health and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said Mr Ametepe replaces Mr Robert Cudjoe, who has been reassigned to the ISD at the Ministry of Information.

Nana Adjei-Mensah urged the public to direct all public relations related issues and inquiries to Mr Ametepe and thanked all its stakeholders’ and partners for their continuous support.

Source: Ghana News Agency

GJA pays last respect to Kofi Annan

Accra, A delegation from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) on Wednesday paid their last respects to Ghana’s illustrious son, Kofi Annan, who was the seventh United Nations (UN) Secretary-General.

Mr Ronald Affail Monney, the President of the Association, led the team to the State Funeral at the Accra International Conference Centre.

‘Kofi Annan never dies,’ he declared in an interview with the GNA, explaining that, ‘his works and values will live forever just like Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President.

He described Kofi Annan as ‘a man with an impeccable track record, who served the global body with distinction and touched many lives.’

He lauded his selflessness and dedication to global peace, reduction of poverty and diseases, saying, his demise was a big blow to Ghana and the world at large.

Mr Monney urged the present generation of leaders to emulate Kofi Annan’s sterling values to help propel the betterment of humanity, especially the vulnerable.

With silent tributes and great admiration for the man who made Ghana’s story about its leadership of the UN a positive one, the members of the delegation filed past his mortal remains to celebrate him.

Mr Annan passed away peacefully on August 18, 2018 in the Swiss city of Bern after a brief illness.

He was aged 80.

He was the UN Secretary-General from January 1997 to 2006, leading a number of reforms at the global body.

He successfully negotiated peace deals in many countries plagued with conflicts and wars.

In 2001, he was co-recipient of the Noble Peace Prize with the UN.

Upon his retirement from UN, he was appointed as a special envoy to Syria and led UN Commission to negotiate for peace during the Rohingya crisis in September 2016.

He was survived by a wife, Nane Maria Lagergren, and three children, Kojo, Ama and Nina.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Upper Denkyira East NDC Chairman is dead

Cape Coast- Mr Nicholas Quaicoo, Upper Denkyira East Constituency Chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDC) is dead.

The 56-year-old astute politician and a businessman died at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a short illness.

The cause of his death was not immediately known and he left behind a wife and nine children.

Papa Ekwao Nyarko, the Constituency Communications Officer, who confirmed his sudden demise to the GNA described the late Chairman as the pillar of the party in the constituency who had mobilised massive grassroots support for the party from 2004 to date.

Mr Quuaicoo popularly known as ‘Chairman Armah’ stood unopposed in the recently held internal party elections of the party held at Kasoa in the Central Region.

The Communication Officer who could not hide his grief as he was moved to tears while expressing heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family as well as party gurus.

He said “as a party, he will be remembered for his forthrightness, courage and dedication to the course of NDC. He will forever be missed by the party because his demise has created a huge vacuum.”

Mr Nyarko explained that the late Chairman’s leadership qualities and commitment to building a robust and formidable party ahead of the 2020 election would be pursued.

“He had love and vision to help the party win more seats in this year’s election. We are also committed to finish his works. He was hardworking and we will also work at ensuring that his commitment and vision will live on.

His loss, according to him will not affect the party and the Constituency but other adjoining Constituencies and Ghana at large.

The always-smiling Chairman was a true politician and also engaged in transport business and an enterprising miner who epitomised unity and statesmanship at all times.

Describing the mood of the party and family house, he said “the mood at the party’s office and the house of the deceased was that of grief and emotion, with people clad in red and black apparels.

Source: Ghana News Agency