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GRA launches policy to deal swiftly with non-tax compliance

BY: Daniel Kenu
Mr Kofi Nti (inset) speaking at the function in Kumasi
Mr Kofi Nti (inset) speaking at the function in Kumasi

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has launched a prosecution policy that will enable it to deal with cases of non-tax compliance with despatch using the police and the Judiciary.

The document is to be distributed manually and electronically to all taxpayers and stakeholders to educate them on their responsibilities and consequences of failure to honour their tax obligations.

Although there are existing laws on tax payment, they had not been biting enough because of challenges in getting prosecutions through as expected.

Consequently, the GRA sought the help of the police and the judiciary to address the lapses, which led to the coming into being of the prosecution policy.

It has warned it will "bite hard" at recalcitrant tax defaulters and those who provide misleading information on their tax obligations.

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GRA will bite

The Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr Kofi Nti, said at the launch in Kumasi yesterday that with the new policy, the GRA had been empowered to deal with such deviants in the system.

He, however, noted that the policy was not to "harass and settle scores" with defaulters but to ensure that procedures were followed.

"The policy is to set clearly the boundaries and modalities and to ensure regular flow of revenue into the national coffers," Mr Nti said.
He hinted that currently a number of such defaulters were in court and could be punished.

Regional Minister

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, said the 'Ghana Beyond Aid' agenda of the government would not be realised if enough revenues were not brought into the national kitty to make Ghana financially independent.

While applauding the GRA for the initiative, he suggested the need to expand the tax net to incorporate more potential
taxpayers.

Mr Osei-Mensah said much as the policy was laudable, citizens needed to be educated more on it so that they would be willing to honour their tax obligations to promote national development.

Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, urged the GRA to ensure a tougher stance to make a difference on Ghana's tax culture.

In a message sent through a representative, the minister said the policy was crucial for the national coffers as they needed to be replenished with funds to meet the aspirations of Ghanaians.

Mr Ofori-Atta suggested that all prosecutions of tax defaulters should be carried on national television to serve as a deterrent to would-be defaulters.

"Non-compliance in developed countries is a serious offence, and is punishable by law. As a country we need to take a cue from it if we want to get to where they have reached," he said.