GRA advocates digitalisation to combat illicit financial flows
The government must accelerate its digitalisation drive to combat illicit financial flows and widen the tax net, an Assistant Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Dominic Naab, has said.
He said the informal nature of the economy was affecting revenue mobilisation, hence the need to move away from operating a cash economy to a digital system.
“If every money is actually on the digital system, tell me, who will keep money in his or her house?” he asked at a public forum on the fight against Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) in Accra yesterday.
Mr Naab, who is also the special technical advisor to the Commissioner-General of the GRA, mentioned opaque contracts, cost padding, inappropriate accounting, among others, as some of the activities short-changing the nation.
The forum was jointly organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), the GRA and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC).
It was on the topic: “Improving domestic revenue mobilisation and combatting illicit financial flows in Ghana: The role of the media and other stakeholders”.
Participants included media personnel, civil society organisations, academia and security agencies.
The forum was also to solicit recommendations on ways in which the media can better provide education on progressive taxation, domestic resource mobilisation, fiscal decentralisation and combating of illicit financial flows in the country.
It also featured a panel discussion on the topic.
A consultant for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Dr Bishop Akolgo, advocated a social transformation agenda that could rally people behind the country’s vision to perform their tax obligations willingly.
He also urged academia, think tanks and CSOs to upgrade conversations on the transformation agenda for all to understand the country’s vision and their individual roles at helping to actualise the agenda.
The Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Mary Addah, mentioned the duplicity of state agencies as a challenge in the fight against IFFs, leading to “turf wars” among those institutions.
She said the country had one of the best universal protocol and legal regimes in fighting IFFs.
However, she said many of those state institutions were not adequately resourced to carry out their duties effectively.
“The systems are there and if you are ticking the boxes of all the protocol, you realise that we are far above expectations, but when it comes to administration, we are falling short.
“If we need to get out of this situation, we must take action by ensuring that our laws bite,” Ms Addah added.
The Head of Research at Joy News, Raymond Acquah, stressed the need for journalists to specialise in taxation to understand and produce critical reports on tax justice, domestic resource mobilisation, and illicit financial flows and their implications in social and economic development.
“If the media does not understand it, how can they explain it to the public?” he asked
For his part, the Head of Analysis at the Financial Intelligence Centre, Seth Nana Amoako, said his outfit was creating awareness of the legal frameworks and means to report illegal activities within the ecosystem.