26.05.2005 Crime & Punishment

Purchasing clerks who flout law will be dealt with - Deputy Minister

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Accra, May 26, GNA - The Deputy Minister of Finance in charge of Revenue, Mr Kwaku Agymeng-Manu on Thursday warned that any purchasing officer in the public sector, who procured goods from non-VAT-registered trader, would be prosecuted.

He said the Financial Administration Act (FAA) made it obligatory for purchasing clerks to ensure they transacted business with approved persons.

Speaking at a sensitisation seminar for purchasing clerks in the Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Accra, Mr Agyemang-Manu said, "the Financial Administration Law (Act 645) states that Government stores shall be procured from only Value Added Tax registered persons". He expressed optimism that with the establishment of the commercial courts offenders of tax-related laws would be dealt with expeditiously. Mr Ageymang-Manu noted that the passage of the Public Procurement Act, Internal Audit Act and Financial Administration Act had brought improvement and transparency in the administration of revenue.

The Deputy Minister indicated that revenue from taxes had increased from 4.4 trillion cedis in 2000 to 17 trillion cedis in 2004 saying this was the result of the widening of the tax net and effective management. He said for instance, when the Internal Revenue Service took over the collection of Vehicle Income Tax from the GPRTU, there was tremendous improvement in the revenue generated from that sector. He said GPRTU colleted seven billion cedis in the first quarter of 2003 but the IRS colleted 23 billion cedis in the last quarter of that year.

Mr Agyemang-Manu noted that with an effective tax collection system, companies and other taxpayers were contributing reasonably into the national kitty.

Mr Joseph Odartey Blankson, Commissioner of VAT, said a vigorous educational campaign was being embarked upon to rope in other sectors of the economy into the tax net particularly the informal sector. He urged tax evaders and other public officials, who condoned with suppliers to produce invoices that were devoid of VAT, to desist since the law would definitely catch up with them.

About 300 purchasing clerks drawn from the Ministries, Departments and Agencies are attending the seminar aimed at educating them on the prevention of revenue leakage as well as the operations of the VAT Service.

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