Smoke out the tax evaders

BY: Arku Jasmine

Certain interventions have been introduced by the government to plug the loopholes through which government revenue is drained for personal gain.

The situation of government revenue being drained has really become alarming in recent times, with public officials at all levels trying to take advantage of their positions to siphon public funds for unintended purposes.

It is heartwarming that the government has identified the challenge and set up the Presidential Task Force on Revenue mobilisation to ensure that every pesewa is accounted for for national development.

Since its inauguration, the task force has directed the radar on revenue officers to ensure that they account for every tax that is collected from taxpayers.

The task force was inaugurated about a month ago to mount surveillance, intercept and arrest people engaged in smuggling and those who evade the payment of appropriate levies on imported goods.

It is no secret that millions of Ghana cedis are siphoned every day from our ports by unscrupulous tax officers for reasons other than the national interest.

The paradox is that the very people who milk the state of the needed resources also join the refrain for the provision of social amenities.

Unfortunately, there are very few patriotic people who will defend the national cause, even at the peril, to such an extent that majority of our people consider public service as self-service.

This kind of mindset should not have a place in present-day Ghana where every hand is needed on deck to collect every pesewa to fix the development gaps in education, health, water and sanitation, as well as the economy generally.

The Daily Graphic is of the view that our country will make no progress if nothing is done to make corrupt practices high-risk ventures.

At present, we, as a society, tend to honour well-to-do personalities, without necessarily questioning the sources of their affluence.

It is in this vein that the Daily Graphic calls on the government to go a step further with the activities of the task force to name and shame those who have been apprehended for under-invoicing the value of their goods at the ports.

We are very aware of the dictates of intelligence, especially when the investigations involve a network of criminal gangs or deviants, but the advantages of naming and shaming people in society should not be lost on us.

The Daily Graphic calls on Ghanaians with patriotic instincts to join the crusade by the government to get everybody to honour his or her tax or civic obligations to the state.

We salute ActionAid Ghana for its plans to embark on a vigorous campaign against companies that fail to discharge their responsibilities of paying taxes in the country.

Everybody looks up to the government to fix all problems in society, but the same people forget that these challenges are not addressed with funds from individuals in government.

The government raises its funds mainly from taxes, loans and grants to fix the challenges. More importantly, good governance guarantees the proper management of public  funds, such that they do not go to feather the nests of private citizens.

The Daily Graphic thinks that this is a patriotic crusade that must find favour with all Ghanaians, so that the government can raise the necessary funds to address the development challenges of our times.

The tag of under-development can only end through our collective efforts at using our resources for the good of society; otherwise our leaders will continue to parade the Western capitals for handouts to put food on our tables.

The resources abound for our economic revival if corrupt officials are prevented from diverting those resources meant for the public good.