The humorous side of Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, came to light last week Friday when he teased Supreme Court Judge, Justice William Atuguba, at the launch of the Tax Awareness and Good Governance Week.
The vice president reminded Ghanaians of the famous Supreme Court election petition case in 2012 when he was one of the leading witnesses for the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the party’s flag-bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Dr Bawumia, before reading his keynote address at the tax education launch, took the audience to the laughing world, saying: “Justice William Atuguba representing the Chief Justice…I will say that Your Lordship, today, you and I are here.”
“Your Lordship, today, you and I will file our taxes,” which attracted spontaneous laughter from the audience at the function, including Justice Atuguba himself and other ministers of state present.
Justice William Atuguba was one of the Justices who sat on the high-level electoral case filed by the then NPP soon after the 2012 poll.
A public servant who spoke to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) but pleaded anonymity said the short humour showed the beauty of the country’s democracy and urged the supporters and sympathisers of the two leading political parties to work together and avoid acrimony and mudslinging.
He said democracy was about choices, therefore, whoever the voting population chose to lead the nation should be accorded the needed respect and rally behind it to propel the nation’s development agenda.
Vice President Bawumia in his address said it was every income earner’s obligation under the laws of the country to honour his or her tax to propel the development of the nation.
He said the rolling out of the tax education campaign demonstrated the country’s resolve to fulfilling the vision of the President in moving ‘‘Ghana Beyond Aid’’ agenda.
He said to move the nation beyond aid, there was the need to strive to be self-financing to ensure sustainable development.
‘‘All over the world, taxation is the main tool countries rely on to mobilise revenues to develop their economies and to provide services to their people.
‘‘Whatever the developed countries sent to us as aid is as a result of their own ability to mobilise domestic resources.
‘‘What we take for granted as aid resources is as a result of their capacity to raise taxes, especially income taxes. As we embark on this journey of Ghana Beyond Aid, it is imperative to take rigorous and decisive steps to raise enough revenues,’’ he stated.
Dr Bawumia entreated all well-meaning Ghanaians to join forces and align their thinking to the paradigm of raising domestic tax revenue.
“The filing of tax returns and paying our fair share of taxes is much of our constitutional obligation as it is a necessary requirement to build a good society for ourselves,” Vice President Bawumia pointed out.
He therefore used the occasion to file his tax returns, which is the assessment of taxes paid from January 01-December 31, 2017, to encourage Ghanaians to do same.
Tax returns are the statutory forms a taxpayer is supposed to complete on his or her income earned in a year of assessment and taxes to be paid within the year of assessment.