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FULL TEXT: Ken Ofori-Atta's speech at the inauguration of new GRA board

Ken Ofori Atta New 202121212132 Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Speech by Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance-Ghana at the Inauguration of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board

Introduction

Minister of State,

Deputy Ministers and Directors,

Members of the reconstituted Board of the Ghana Revenue Authority,

Friends from the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

1. Good morning, and welcome to the Ministry of Finance for the inauguration of the Board of the Ghana Revenue Authority, consistent with the requirements of the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009 (Act 791).

2. We are mindful of the sacred trust that the nation has reposed in the Authority to mobilise the needed revenue for the recurrent and capital expenditure of the state.

3. Enhancing Domestic Resource Mobilisation (DRM) is at the very heart of our economic recovery and essential to our National Medium Term Development Policy Framework (NMTDPF) best captured as the “Ghana Beyond Aid” Agenda of the Government of H. E. President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

4. Nothwithstanding our best efforts, our average tax to GDP ratio of 12.8% still lags behind the 20% of our peer middle income countries and 34% in Advanced Economies.

5. The Ghana Revenue Authority was budgeted to collect total tax revenue of GH¢47.25 billion and was revised to GH¢42.77 billion for the 2020 fiscal year owing to shrinking economic activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total tax revenue of GH¢45.34 billion was collected, exceeding the budget by some GH¢2.57 billion (i.e., 6.0%).

6. Government is aware of the critical importance of additional revenue to finance the many initiatives that underpin our recovery and transformation agenda. Indeed, we are committed to raising our tax to GDP beyond 20% plus in the medium term.

7. Consequently, the GRA has been tasked to collect a total revenue of GH¢57.06 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, representing a 25.7% growth over the GH¢45.4 billion collected for the 2020 fiscal year.

8. The GRA is further required to mobilize additional revenue of GH¢30 billion under the GH¢100 billion 3-year Ghana CARES Obaatanpa Programme with details as follows.

a) 2021 - GH¢5 billion

b) 2022 - GH¢12.5 billion

c) 2023 - GH¢12.5 billion

9. There is an urgent need on the part of this new Board to marshal all available resources to guide the Management of the Authority to achieve these Revenue Targets.

10. Government is supporting the Ghana Revenue Authority in implementing a transformation agenda to block the huge leakages in key sectors of the economy. This transformation agenda is not just about mobilizing more but equally about mobilizing efficiently through technology and integrated data systems.

11. Undoubtedly, we have made significant progress in this regard. The introduction of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), launched in 2020 to replace the existing systems has ensured that monthly revenue consistently exceeds GH¢1.0 billion leading to an increase in consolidated revenue by 27.7 percent from June 2020 to May 2021.

12. We have further launched a Centralised Digital Payment Platform dubbed the Ghana.Gov Platform to improve the ease of paying taxes and provide real-time view of lodgements and government revenue for efficient planning and resource allocation.

13. Over 5.8 million transactions have so far been carried out on the Platform since its inception in June 2020, with a value of GH¢21.0 billion as at 4:30pm on Monday, 12th July, 2021.

The break-down is as follows:



Another landmark is the establishment of the Revenue Assurance and Compliance Enforcement (RACE) initiative which is an inter-agency body set up to complement the efforts of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The remit of RACE is to identify and eliminate revenue leakages and ensure adherence to set procedures and processes while reinforcing the culture of compliance nationwide in areas such as petroleum bunkering, gold and minerals export, port operations, transit goods, warehousing, border controls and free zones operations.

14. I believe the task for the reconstituted Board is laid out clearly. You must work together to go beyond your predecessors and align your activities with our theme for the year; the 3Cs (Completion, Consolidation and Continuity).

15. I am aware that some work has already started aimed at transforming the Authority, streamlining its business, address the limiting bureaucracies to foster easier tax compliance. It is imperative for the members of this reconstituted Board to ensure that these initiatives are continued to the point of completion and the GRA’s orientation is transformed into a truly service-oriented organisation.

16. I assure you that the Ministry of Finance, will support you, as you go about creating a “fit-for-purpose” GRA capable of mobilizing the needed resources to support Ghana’s transformation thereby creating jobs for our teeming youth population, boosting economic growth, and supporting the Country's stability.

17. Given your extensive backgrounds and professional expertise, I am confident that each Board member will meet the expectations of Government, the Industry and the General Public.

18. Let me reiterate the words from 2 Timothy 1:7 which I shared in the Mid-Year Review which tells us, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”. This should spur you to have the courage, hope, and resolve to work hard and expect that the Almighty God whom most of us believe and serve will look kindly on us and bless the work of our hands.

19. Let me end by congratulating all of you and declaring, the reconstituted Board of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) duly inaugurated. Congratulations, and God bless You

Source: www.ghanaweb.com