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18.08.2005 General News

CEPS cares about efficient service delivery


Tema, Aug. 18, GNA - Major-General Richardson Edwin Baiden, Commissioner of Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) has observed that, as key players in national development, members of the service need to constantly demonstrate to stakeholders that, they care about efficient service delivery.

Major-General Baiden, who made the observation at the launch of CEPS Compliance Months at the forecourt of CEPS Longroom at Tema on Wednesday said by informing and sensitizing clients on current issues affecting revenue performance, they could improve on their relationships, and create a common sense of purpose for the realization of corporate objectives.

The launch, under the theme: "Compliance: A Prerequisite for Effective Mobilization of Customs Duties and Taxes", would help eliminate or minimize perceptions of mistrust and mutual suspicion between the service and its numerous stakeholders.

The CEPS Commissioner noted that, as a developing country, it is important to get our tax policies and priorities right. This, however, he said, could not be achieved, if we lacked the capacity to develop and implement tax reforms. Major-General Baiden said the development of efficient and fair tax systems in developing nations such as Ghana "is a complex and challenging one, especially in the face of efforts to become integrated into the international economy".

For instance, he said, the reduction of import tariffs, which was now a major requirement of trade liberalization, imposed a major burden on most developing countries, due to the anticipated revenue losses associated with such a policy.

"A shift will definitely have a telling effect on our revenue generation in this country", he pointed out.

Major-General Baiden regretted that tax avoidance and tax evasions had become a common phenomenon in Ghana, since it was assuming alarming proportions.

"The tendency for certain unscrupulous companies and individuals to engage in acts that deny the state billions of cedis in tax revenue, is undermining the revenue generation efforts of CEPS and other revenue agencies".

He reminded stakeholders and the business community that CEPS was now in a better position to rigorously pursue evaders, who thought they could outsmart the system. "We are poised to ruthlessly impose deterrent penalties, including prosecution and possible imprisonment of those, who perpetually defraud the state of its revenue".

He stated that the establishment of tax and commercial courts should serve as a warning to those, who thought they could manipulate the system for their own selfish and personal gains.

Major-General Baiden announced that the service would set up a Taxpayers Compliance Monitoring Unit to be responsible for building up a credible database on voluntary compliance and occasionally publish the list of good corporate citizens in relation to tax payment. The CEPS Commission appealed to government to consider the inclusion of tax amnesties, as a revenue mobilization measure, to complement the efforts of revenue agencies at intensifying their tax audit and tax survey activities.