‘Expand and resuscitate multi-agency mineral revenue taskforce’

The Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) has called for the resuscitation and expansion of the Multi-Agency Mineral Revenue Task Force to include the Petroleum Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority and relevant petroleum sector agencies.

The task force should be mandated to receive reports from the joint field visits and to support any transfer pricing audit that may be initiated by the Transfer Pricing Unit.

Mr Bernard Anaba, a Policy Analyst at ISODEC, said this at a workshop to validate study reports on illicit financial flow and how to address the pitfalls in revenue mobilisation process.

The reports were Tax and Illicit Financial Outflow: A Case in Ghana’s Petroleum Sector; and Illicit Financial Outflow: A Case of Commodity Imports in Ghana.

He said the study was to spur official action and sense of urgency in those matters and galvanise the fight against illicit financial inflow in Africa, especially Ghana, to learn about the things that affected the financial health of Ghana.

Mr Anaba said per the findings, there was no records of the Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Commissioning (EPCC) contract making its way to Parliament for consideration and Ministry of Finance did not follow due diligence but were ready to grant tax waivers than ensuring that Ghana saves money.

He said Parliament was lackadaisical in granting tax waivers without sighting the EPCC contract while the Ministry of Finance also breached the Constitution by not seeking Parliamentary approval of Act 181 (5) of the Constitution.

Mr Anaba recommended that Ghana’s public sector reform programme be given fresh impetus to focus on institutional collaboration and automatic exchange of information among related entities in every sphere of national economic life.

He said the plan by the Petroleum Unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority to include staff of the transfer pricing on their routine field visits were welcomed and highly encouraged.

Mr Bishop Akolgo, the Executive Director of ISODEC, speaking on: Illicit Financial Outflow; A Case of Commodity Imports in Ghana, said custom officials had no reliable database of goods and services and their comparable cost.

He said observation also indicted that clearing agents sometimes connived with importers and customs officials to assign a low value to an item or even misclassify an item for tax purposes.

Mr Akolgo said to support the transfer pricing regulation, Ghana needed to proactively monitor multinational companies’ cost of production in real-time.

He said for solid mineral and petroleum production, processing and marketing, national authorities needed benchmark costs and price-filter model to guide regulators and tax authorities.

“Design, implement, monitor and evaluate a real-time model for tracking and eliminating trade mispricing in commodities and train and resource tax authorities to implement same,” he said.

He called for the institution of an inter-ministerial natural resources co-ordination committee, chaired by the President or the Vice-President, to look at forest, fisheries, solid minerals and petroleum in a holistic, coordinated and harmonious manner.

Source: Ghana News Agency