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18.02.2007 General News

IRS looses 140 billion cedis due to power rationing

By myjoyonline

The power rationing exercise currently being undertaken by the Electricity Company of Ghana, has caused the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to loose revenue estimated at 140 billion cedis, last year.

The Commissioner of the Service, Major Ablorh Quarcoo, who said this at the formal opening of a three-Day IRS Management Seminar at Akosombo, which ends on Saturday, observed that many businesses and companies in the country record low earnings due to the exercise.

The seminar, organized under the theme "Improving organisational performance-The importance of effective management," was being attended by the top management personnel and regional managers of the IRS.

Maj. Quarcoo said last year, the IRS exceeded its target by 72.76 billion cedis and was able to collect more taxes through the efforts of a special task force set up by the Service in November last year.

He said this year; the government revenue target had been raised from 7.3 trillion cedis to 8.9 trillion cedis, an increase of 22.13 per cent.

Maj. Quarcoo noted that the increase in tax collection was at a time when government had abolished the reconstruction levy and made several tax concessions to companies in the 2007 budget statement.

He said the IRS would adopt strategies to enhance tax collection to enable the Service to meet its new target.

Maj. Quarcoo said the plans included the re-launching of the Tax Stamp and the establishment of Small Taxpayers Bureau in the districts to bring in more potential taxpayers from the informal sector into the tax net.

Maj. Quarcoo said the IRS would also operate the Global Positioning System to enable the Service to track properties to enhance rent tax collection.

He said the IRS would also develop the Income Tax Verification Sticker to track people who own several vehicles but did not pay taxes.

In a speech read on behalf of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, he announced that government would implement computerization programme for the IRS this year, and that funding and the software have been secured for the plan to take off.

Mr Baah Wiredu urged the IRS to reciprocate the gesture of government by working harder to collect more taxes.

He advised the IRS to sustain its tax education campaign to widen the tax net, to enforce tax laws to enhance compliance, and to prosecute tax defaulters to deter tax evasion.

The Executive Secretary of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board, Mr Harry Owusu, called on the IRS to come out with new modalities of doing business without harassing and intimidating clients.

The Eastern Regional Director of IRS, Mr Joseph Oppong, appealed for the relocation of the Nkawkaw IRS Office, the renovation of the Akim Oda IRS Office, and the provision of vehicles for the IRS offices in the region.

He said though the region could not achieve its target for 2006, despite the provision of adequate resourced, it could do better.

The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana and Acting Chairman of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board, Mr Lionel Van Lare Dosoo, urged IRS to critically examine the impact of the re-denomination of the currency on tax collection, that will start in July this year.