Project TREE Offers e-Billing, e-Payment Of Property Rates
Ghana's digitisation agenda continues in full swing with the introduction of the Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement (TREE) project.
This electronic project is meant to pave way for the automation of all state institutions with the distribution of 32 computers to 16 of the 33 selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
The four-year project being carried out in the Central, Western and Ashanti Regions involved data collection on properties for effective billing, which is near completion.
It will be followed by the deployment of a new tax management software model that will electronically bill property owners by text messages for them to make e-payment of taxes and bills through mobile money transfers.
The purpose is to as much as possible eliminate the human contact in revenue payment, which is most often characterized by corrupt practices to help boost the internally generated funds of the Assemblies with the ultimate aim of bringing fiscal decentralization to their localities.
The project, also seeks to build the capacity of the revenue staff on the new tax management software, which when successful will be replicated in all MMDAs across the country.
Handing over the computers to the Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kwamena Duncan at a short ceremony in Cape Coast, Mr. Bless Kwame Darkey, TREE Project Coordinator was optimistic that digitization of revenue collection would help block leakages and stimulate the performance of the MMDAs.
He explained that the project was focusing on property rates because there was a huge tax gap in that area that needed to be bridged to significantly step up internally generated funds to enable the Assemblies undertake development projects to enhance the economic wellbeing of the people.
Mr Kwamena Duncan described the model as timely in view of the fact that it fell in line with the national digitization agenda and since mobilizing internally generated funds was a challenge of MMDAs, hooking the selected Assemblies on will be a major breakthrough for revenue generation.
He urged the Assemblies to embrace the TREE to rake in the needed revenue in their quest to provide the much desired development to their people.
The Communication Expert of the Project, Mr. Philip Dornyo, said the model will focus on property rates, business operating permits and building permits and that it has a central monitoring point, which helps to detect and check all lapses on the field to eliminate fraudulent deals.
The TREE is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Fiscal Decentralisation Unit of the Finance Ministry and the Office of the Head of Local Government Service.