The government is on target to exceed its projected revenue of GH¢3,543.42 million, in spite of the global economic slowdown that has hit economies across the world.
The positive indicators followed the collection of GH¢2,660.28 million as of the end of September, this year.
Executive Secretary of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB), Mr Harry Owusu, speaking at the 2nd Taxpayers Awards ceremony at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Accra, said the gradual reduction in the tax rates over time had improved compliance of taxpayers, pushing the contribution of tax to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 17.22 per cent in 2001 to 19.1 per cent at the end of last year.
“Collections as of September 30, 2008 stood at GH¢2,660.28 million and by all indications we will exceed the projected revenue of GH¢3,543.42 million for the year,” Mr Owusu stated.
The Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) received a Platinum Award for its outstanding payment of Value Added Tax (VAT). The Managing Director of the Group, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, received the award.
An individual, Mr Samuel Amoafo Dankyi, and nine other companies also received Platinum awards in various disciplines.
Mr Owusu said the RAGB hoped to widen the spread of the awards in the near future to cover many industry operators both at the regional and district levels.
The awards scheme was established to honour deserving taxpayers for their level of voluntary compliance and tax payments.
Held on the theme, “Tax Compliance and Nation Building”, the award and subsequent ones, are intended to serve as an impetus to other taxpayers to emulate voluntary compliance in the provisions of the tax laws.
Mr Owusu was optimistic the event would enhance the already harmonious relationship between the revenue agencies and the taxpaying public and pointed out that the agencies were not only interested in collecting taxes from the public but also “recognise the need to work with them towards the attainment of the broad national development objectives”.
A Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Prof. George Gyan Baffour, said the tax reforms and rate cuts that had yielded higher tax revenues would eventually lead the country to wean itself off the Bretton Woods' support, which sometimes delayed in coming, thereby putting the country's expectations off track.
Revenue from tax have grown from GH¢655.70 million in 2001 to GH¢3,040.26 million at the end of last year.
Already, he said, the signs were clear as foreign budgetary support had reduced from 55 per cent to about 30 per cent.
“We cannot always go to other countries with a bowl in our hand begging for what we can certainly provide for ourselves,” he said, adding that Ghana should not lose sight of the fact that those loans and grants were taxes paid by individuals in those donor countries.
What, therefore, prevents us from contributing towards our own development, he questioned, saying “one way of doing this is through tax contributions that we will make”.
Story by Kate Baaba Hudson