The acting Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, has said the authority will automate the processes for the payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) and other forms of taxation next year.
He said it formed part of measures to improve revenue generation by encouraging taxpayers to walk to banks and pay their taxes, as against the present practice where people only undertook such obligations at GRA offices.
“The deployment of technology in 2020 will phase out the present manual system, and provide a channel for efficient revenue mobilisation for national development,” Mr Owusu-Amoah explained.
The acting Commissioner-General stated this during a familiarisation visit to Olam Ghana’s production units in Tema last Wednesday.
It included a Grains Production Plant and Nutrifoods, which produces tomato puree and biscuits.
The visit was to enable him to apprise himself of the business processes of industries and identify challenges that impeded tax compliance of companies.
Mr Owusu-Amoah said the GRA had the opportunity to influence policymaking, hence the need to understand the challenges of organisations to enable the authority to influence policy.
“We do not want to be a tax entity that sits in the office expecting people to bring us money, hence, the adoption of this approach to build rapport, establish relationships and ensure that the taxpayer understands that we are partners striving to help in the development of the country,” he said.
According to Mr Owusu-Amoah, the authority’s tax education drive had led to many industries becoming more compliant “and we think that this new partnership will be mutually beneficial to our organisation and taxpayers.”
He also explained that following a revision of the authority’s targets to GH¢42.1 billion, officials had, as of last month, realised GH¢37.7 billion, leaving a gap of GH¢5 billion, which he hoped the authority would achieve by the end of the year.
He said the GRA had realised that it could no longer depend on import revenues as the major stream of income and would explore other avenues that could equally rake in revenues for the state.
The acting Commissioner-General further stated that the hosting of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Ghana meant that issues of taxation would be paramount to trade.
“We may have to look at its possible impact as far as taxation is concerned since as you may be aware, encouraging free trade would mean that we look for other avenues of making money through taxation,” he added.