“…Ultimately, we must remember that you cannot transform an economy with just brick and mortar. You can only transform an economy with ideas, systems, and institutions.” Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President of Ghana.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s bottom-up strategy, unconventional thinking, and innovative use of cutting-edge technology have been the constant hallmarks of his efforts to solve the fundamental challenges impeding the progress of our nation. It is trite that a comprehensive centralised database of the populace, robust systems, and institutions are necessary for effective economic planning and nation-building.
Our nation’s inefficient property tax collection system is a legacy problem that has endured since its foundation, with no practical end in sight. Since its seemingly insurmountable nature, successive governments have chosen to overlook it. Dr. Bawumia seeks to mobilise his energies and vision by leveraging digitalisation to solve complex underlying social and economic issues.
It is untenable that only about 9 percent of property owners pay their property taxes thus far. The amount of lost revenue to the state is unfathomable.
This highlights the degree of unfair practices and systemic failure of our state institutions over the years. However, it is safer to suggest that the ship has finally sailed to the shore, as we’ve found a solution.
The Ghana Card, which began under President Kufuor’s administration, has been offered an impetus through Dr. Bawumia, as more Ghanaians have been captured onto the national database infrastructure.
The Digital Property Address System is a game-changing experience that assigns a unique digital address to each property. At the same time, Mobile Money Interoperability provides a digital mobile money platform across all mobile networks.
Considering property taxation, these innovations have been incorporated into a single platform known as the Unified Digital Platforms.
The Unified Digital Platform is a centralised database of all Ghanaian properties, their precise locations, and the owner’s records. Interestingly, the Unified Digital Platform has uniquely identified about 7 million properties based on their digital addresses.
That’s a strong indicator that the 7 million property owners using the Unique Digital Platform will have timely access to their property rates, make instant digital property tax payments across all mobile money networks and receive electronic receipts when fully implemented.
On the other hand, the Ghana Revenue Authority, (GRA) and the MMDAs that are implementing this innovative solution, will be able to in real-time identify those who have paid their property tax and those who have not for onward tax collection or the delivery of tax invoices to the respective defaulting properties.
These reforms will increase revenue mobilisation considerably without imposing new or higher taxes, allowing us to meet our rising fiscal obligations better.
Some of these revolutionary endeavours are systematically changing our underlying economic narratives. Digital Bawumia is the Game Changer! There is hope in our today to better our tomorrow.
By: Chief Obosu Mohammed, LL.M MA PGDPM A CIarb LL.B DPA Dip