Business News of 2013-12-13

Parliament requests documentation on Subah/GRA transaction

Parliament on Thursday requested the Finance Ministry to provide all relevant documentation on the business agreement between Subah Infosolutions Limited and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), to facilitate a better appreciation of the deal by the House.

According to the Finance Committee of Parliament, the House was not privy to contentious transaction, and had thus requested for further particulars to critically peruse that business.

Ranking Member of the Committee, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, who informed the House of the move during a motion to approve an amount of Ghc530,444,425 for the services of the GRA for the 2014 fiscal year, said the Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper had agreed to make available to the committee all documents relating to the deal.

“Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister has assured us that at the appropriate time, he would furnish us with the details of the Subah and GRA issue,” he said.

The GRA in 2010 contracted the IT firm Subah Infosolutions Limited, a subsidiary of Zoomlion Ghana Limited, to provide telecommunication traffic monitoring services for the Tax Agency for the purpose of calculating the Communications Service Tax to be exacted from the Telcos.

Subah was allegedly paid GHc144 million, a figure refuted by the head of the GRA George Blankson, who said the IT firm received only GHc 75 million for two years of work.

The development angered civil society organizations, a section of the public and opposition political parties, who said the transaction smirked of corruption, and demanded that heads rolled for the nuances of the deal.

Dr Akoto Osei observed that since the 2014 budget allocation to the GRA has been increased significantly by almost Ghc100 million, there was no justification for the tax bureau to offset part of its mandate to an external body.

He said the budgetary allocation was enough to ensure effective and efficient services from the GRA.

The House also approved budget estimates of three other public institutions for the 2014 financial year. The Ministry of Finance was approved an amount of GHc224,246,020, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources GHc279,656,034 and the Public Services Commission, the sum of GHc3,483,805.