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Ghana Revenue Authority begins operations

By Mashudu Ankiilu Kunateh & Daniel Nonor - Ghanaian Chronicle

In line with international best practice, the Government of Ghana has legislated for the establishment of a modernized revenue authority that will focus on functional revenue administration and improved customer service delivery.

Accordingly, the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791) has been passed to establish the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). The GRA will integrate the management of domestic tax and customs divisions and modernize domestic tax and customs operations through the review of processes and procedures.

Furthermore, the authority will see the integration of the three revenue agencies, namely the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Value Added Tax (VAT) and Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) under one umbrella, with one head called the Commissioner General.

Speaking at a day's seminar on the GRA for management personnel of the revenue agencies, a Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Seth Tekper, mentioned that the objects of the authority included reducing administrative and tax compliance cost and to provide better services to taxpayers.

He added that the integration of the three revenue agencies would make them more efficient and cut out tasks which are presently duplicated.

Though the authority was launched over the weekend, a number of reforms would have to take place within the next 24 months before a fully integrated authority materializes.

Deputy Finance Minister Seth Tekper indicated that the programme will “transform manual systems into electronic platforms.”

In his welcoming address, the Executive Secretary of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB), Mr. Samuel Sellas-Mensah hinted that the “Act 791 provides that all members of staff are automatically transferred to the GRA.”

The Deputy Minister, however, mentioned that the exercise would be carried out in such a way as not to create any job losses. He therefore assured all staff of the revenue agencies of a transparent administration that would ensure that no one is placed at a disadvantage.

Mr. Sellas-Mensah noted that staff of the revenue agencies was key stakeholders in the realization of the GRA dream. He stressed that “There is the need, therefore, for every member of staff to be well informed about issues relating to the project, the law and any other matter relating to the establishment of the authority.

Mr. Sellas-Mensah, therefore, assured all the staff that various educational activities have been drawn to ensure that they are well educated on the GRA.

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr. Alban Bagbin, who chaired the function, advised the staff to work hard to ensure that the GRA succeeds. He also admonished them to assist the management to outline nationwide comprehensive education campaigns to educate the various taxpayers across the length and breadth of the country.