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15.11.2004 Business & Finance

Government to absorb expenditure of IRS

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Kumasi, Nov. 15, GNA - The Government is considering the possibility of absorbing the capital expenditure part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, has said.

"This, I believe is still being worked out and hopefully, it may come out that the expectation of workers will be met". This was contained in a speech read for him by Dr Wahaab Alhassan, Director of Policy Analysis Division of the Ministry at the opening of the fourth quadrennial national delegates conference of the IRS division of the Public Services Workers Union (PSWU) in Kumasi on Monday. The three-day conference was on the theme: "Sustaining The Growth and Development of the Economic of Ghana through Direct Tax Mobilisation, The Role of Labour".

Mr Osafo-Maafo said he was happy that the workers union was looking for ways through which labour could help mobilise direct taxes to sustain the country's growth.

The Minister noted that sustaining growth implies stability, which is a precondition for sustained growth and stressed that a country wishing to attain and sustain macroeconomic stability needs to reduce excess aggregate demand throughout the economy. "This condition is the key to the achievement of a sustained growth and is one area where labour plays a vital and crucial role", Mr Osafo-Maafo said.

He said labour has an important part to play in the administration of taxes as it is clear that tax administration has become extremely important both to those concerned with increased tax yields and those concerned with tax policy and its effects on the economy in general. Mrs. Janet Opoku Acheampong, Commissioner of IRS, said direct tax collection is very difficult and cumbersome and that is why the government raised the Service's retention percentage to 2.8 per cent from the previous 2.5 per cent.

She pointed out that the benefits of any increase in the retention percentage will depend on the efforts of the staff and stressed that management was evaluating every unit and district on weekly basis and non-performing district heads and their subordinates were being given the necessary signals.

Mrs. Acheampong announced that the Service would introduce tax stamps next year to widen the tax net, hoping that the staff would do well to help it work.

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