Private Sector Businesses in the Ashanti region have flagged unfriendly and cumbersome processes at the Ghana Revenue Authority as a major factor fighting voluntary tax compliance.
They expressed these complaints when the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) opened a Multi Sectorial Business Integrity Forum in Kumasi with a focus on taxes.
The Leaders of trade and commerce in the Ashanti Region lashed out at the GRA for corrupt, unfriendly, and cumbersome processes they encounter dealing with the Tax Authority.
A representative of the Association of Ghana Industries in the Ashanti region Diana MaameAkwaboahBosompem indicated that the special complaints unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority couldn’t be trusted to check the frustrations in the system arguing it would amount to an examiner marking their own scripts.
She explained: “Our main problem is that the system is not friendly and the processes are too stressful. If the person is not willing to do the right thing, he will just get tired and leave it there.
We understand they have a complaint unit there but we want it to be handled by an independent body because GRA as a body, cannot be receiving its own complaints and at the same time be expected to sanction their own people,”
The private sector of Ghana’s economy gained prominence as the engine of Economic Growth during Ghana’s Structural Adjustment Program in the 1980s.
This was to de-emphasize the concentration on the struggling State-Owned Enterprise’s which no longer sustained the economy.
The private sector contributes 90% of jobs and holds 17% of the country’s total capital as a ratio to GDP.
Tax compliance in this sector has however posted unimpressive figures principally because of challenges in widening the tax net, cumbersome tax administrative processes, and corruption.
The Multi Sectorial Business Integrity Forum of the Ghana Integrity Initiative was to put private sector players and the Ghana Revenue Authority on one pedestal to confront these challenges.
Ashanti regional area head Domestic tax revenue division of the Ghana Revenue Authority Samuel Sekyi Duodu indicated that the GRA is fashioning out a number of virtual platforms to ease transactions and reduce the human element in its processes.
He indicated: “WE are going digital so people can file online and electronically pay to reduce the number of people who come there especially when the dates are due.
Mr. Sekyie Doudu assured the businessmen present that his office is committed to the continuous professional development of their members especially in the areas of professionalism and customer care to help them relate better to clients.
He however cautioned businessmen against working their tax documents through middlemen who pose as officials of the Revenue Authority.
“Some people just meet anyone and give them their documents and such complaints remain there and we don’t even hear of them. If we get reports of acts of corruption, we institute punishment against them,” he contended.
Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative Linda Ofori Kwarfo told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador, her outfit is committed to using its complaint platforms, to address corruption and unfairness suffered by businessmen in the payment of their tax obligations.
“We created this platform because private sector people want to do the right thing but how do we deliberate on the challenges that people face. We take complaints on our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre toll-free lines and contact the GRA to provide the right responses to address these issues,” she pointed out.
The theme for the two-day multi Sectorial Business Integrity Forum is “Promoting sustainable tax compliance for development; the role of the private sector”.