GRA revives IT Institute project

BY: Della Russel Ocloo

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has revived the construction of a €2.7 million Information Technology (IT)

Institute for the training and work of tax officers.

It is to serve as an incubation and innovation centre for the training of the staff of the GRA to enable them to meet the demands of tax collection and general revenue mobilisation.

The institute, sited at Tema, is being funded with a loan facility from the KfW Development Bank of Germany, and expected to be completed by November 2022.

The project is expected to improve the authority’s usage of IT-based business approach to support the government’s efforts to modernise the country’s tax revenues system.

The institute will have a research hub, administrative offices, lecture halls, a conference room and other ancillary facilities.

It is said to be an eco-friendly facility that also satisfies the needs of people with disability.

Germany

At the brick laying ceremony in Tema to revive the project initiated in 2016 but stalled as a result of funding challenges, the Germany Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Daniel Krull, indicated that revenue collection remained an enabling tool for states towards delivering the common goals of education, health, infrastructure, among others.

He said without the proper collection of revenue, no state would be capable of providing the common growth side associated with development.

Mr Krull said he was, however, excited that Ghana was taking steps at mitigating the risk of corruption in many of its sectors, describing the move as an important initiative which could go to ensure the prudent use of resources.

“It will, therefore, be important that governments across the West African sub-region facing corruption challenges will share information and best practices among themselves as a way of pulling themselves along in significantly reducing the risks associated with tax avoidance and misappropriation,” Mr Krull said.

The German government, the Ambassador stressed, would continue to support the GRA in its modernisation drive.

Digital strategy

The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, indicated that the authority’s digital strategy enabled it to increase the country’s tax paying population to over 15 million individuals from the previous base of four million.

He pointed out that the cashless payment system in implementation by the authority had seen commercial vehicle owners paying their quarterly vehicle income tax through mobile money platforms.

“The cashless initiative has so far achieved a 100 per cent reduction in dishonoured cheques and a significant reduction in traffic to our offices, and we are also looking to streamline and improve our online filing to enable taxpayers file their returns with ease across multiple devices,” Mr Owusu-Amoah said.