Put in robust tax administration to boost gov’t revenue in 2020 – Experts

Cape Coast- Economists and tax experts at a roundtable discussion on Ghana’s 2020 budget statement presented to Parliament last Wednesday, have advocated for an effective and efficient tax administration and regulatory regimes to shore up government revenue.

This will significantly address the gaping tax loopholes, priotise tax compliance with ease in payment modules and stringent punitive measures for tax defaulters.

This, according to them, was the way to end the persistent revenue shortfalls stifling socio-economic and infrastructural development across the country.

The forum was organised by the Department of Data Science and Economic Policy of the School of Economics in collaboration with the Department of Finance, School of Business of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Monday.

The annual event held on the theme, “the budget statement of Ghana, business as usual or game changer”, brought together students, lecturers and the media who subjected the various thematic areas of the budget into scrutiny.

Reverend Dr. George Nii Tackie, a Tax Expert and a senior Lecturer at the UCC said government must swiftly tighten tax regulatory compliance and enforcement to raise the needed revenue to undertake its development projects.

He said this is hinged on the fact that government had over the years failed woefully to meet its revenue targets and noted that the government had projected to raise GH67.1 billion, in the 2020 budget statement which is up from the projected outrun for 2019 of GH54.6 billion.

However, it proposed to use GH85.9 billion as Total Expenditure for the 2020 fiscal year, which is 21.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including arrears payments.

He noted that nevertheless, the projected revenue falls short of government’s projected total expenditure, including clearance of arrears, by over G8.9 billion, representing 4.7 percent of GDP, for the 2020 fiscal year.

The Tax Expert recommended fiscal electronic devices to mandate state institutions like the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) assess taxpayers on revenue and Value Added Tax (VAT) by cutting down on human contacts to the assessment of prospective taxpayers to minimise corrupt practices

Rev. Dr. Tackie pointed to recent re-engineering at the GRA, the digitisation of the economy and a disciplined expenditure regime as some of the efforts to turn things round for the better and this must be enhanced and sustained.

Dr. Emmanuel Asmah, Dean of the School of Economics applauded government for the impeccable macroeconomic gains since it took over the reins of government.

The tight fiscal and monetary policies which had culminated in the declining of inflation rate, achieving relative stability in the exchange rate and strengthening foreign reserves among others were some of the indices that pointed to the return of a stable macroeconomic environment.

However, he expressed fears about government’s ability to sustain the seeming stability and market confidence in the run up to the 2020 electioneering campaign which had for years thrown governments’ budgets out of gear.

Dr. Seyram Kawor, a senior Lecturer at the university also called for capacity building for revenue collecting agencies, make tax payment models easy, accessible and convenient with technology to rake in more revenue.

He praised the government highly for its industrialization agenda, social interventions and presidential special initiatives and strong commitment to supporting the private sector with the needed incentives to grow, expand and create employment.

Source: Ghana News Agency