The Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has held a Tax Education Forum for taxpayers in the municipality at the Church of Pentecost, Haatso Central, Haatso on Tuesday.
The programme formed part of a collaboration project between the GRA and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) nationwide towards revenue mobilization.
BACKGROUND OF THE GRA-MMDAs PROJECT
The Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791), Section 3 (e), mandates the GRA to "advise District Assemblies on the assessment and collection of their revenue".
However, there is no existing framework which guides the GRA in discharging this function.
It is against this backdrop that the GRA has initiated a project titled, the "GRA-MMDAs Collaboration for Revenue Mobilization" to find ways to develop a framework guidelines in implementing the stated function.
The project is expected to investigate and establish how best the GRA can collaborate with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in revenue mobilization for mutual benefits resulting in the development of a Collaboration Framework Guidelines document.
With the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, promulgating the "Ghana Beyond Aid" policy as the way forward towards making the country self-reliant in its development, it is imperative for public institutions, such as the GRA and MMDAs, charged with generating revenue for national and local development, to collaborate and strategize to enhance their revenue generation efforts to make the policy workable.
As part of the implementation, the project is been piloted in three Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies (MMAs), namely; Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Ga East Municipal Assembly (GEMA), and Adentan Municipal Assembly (AdMA).
Under this phase of the project, the teams from the GRA and the three MMAs have held several meetings to develop a strategic action plan. The joint teams are expected to develop and implement tax compliance and tax education activities in the pilot areas.
After a series of meetings between the GRA and GEMA joint teams, an action plan was developed in which the two are to hold tax education and complaint activities.
On Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, the team organized a tax education programme at the Church of Pentecost, Haatso Assembly.
Both GEMA and GRA made separate presentations on their operations and educated the participants, made up of business and property owners, representatives of Residents' Associations within Haatso, Faith-based Organizations and Traditional Authorities among others, on their duties to pay revenue to help develop the municipality and the country as a whole.
The Assembly, in its presentation by the Municipal Budget Officer (MBO), Mr. Noah Tali, using pictures, explained the types and sources of revenue and procedure for collecting and usage.
The GRA, on its part, made presentations on the legal framework for the establishment of the Authority, types and sources of revenue they collect and educated the participants on the respective functions of the two entities and explained the distinction between the revenue types collected by the Assembly and the GRA to help clear the confusion and misconception among the public on what should be paid to either of the two.
An Assistant Commissioner of GRA, in charge of Training and Development, and the Project Manager, Mr Kwesi Ackaah, emphasized that the collaboration between the GRA and Ga East will extend to all Assemblies nationwide to enable the Authority and the Assemblies come out with a comprehensive framework guidelines for their collaboration in revenue mobilization.
"The Ghana Revenue Authority became what it is today by bringing three (3) tax authorities, that is Customs Excise and Preventive Services (CEPS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added Tax (VAT), under one umbrella to help ease the burden of taxpayers. In a similar vein, we intend on collaborating with all Assemblies nationwide to educate taxpayers and help ease the stress all tax authorities encounter", he stated.
Mr. Kwesi Ackaah also mentioned that the two institutions, GRA and GEMA, will together extend the tax education to homes in the municipality.
"This education exercise is not meant to end here. Very soon, you will see teams from the Assembly and GRA visit you from door to door to educate you, answer questions you may have in compliance with your obligation as taxpayers, you will be able to do so. We know paying taxes is not easy so this collaboration will be enhanced to ease your burden", he said.
The Presiding Member (PM) for GEMA and Assembly Member for Haatso Electoral Area, Hon. Jesse Nii Noi Anum, who chaired the forum, encouraged residents and business owners to always see it as their civic responsibility to pay their taxes to the Assembly and GRA for development of the municipality and nation at large and urged them to help educate others on the knowledge acquired.
"This is a great exercise by the Assembly and the Ghana Revenue Authority. The Assembly has showed you that the monies you pay is being used purposely so you have to keep on paying your tax so we can totally transform the municipality. This collobaration is a great opportunity for taxpayers to understand and educate ourselves on the use of tax. I urge you not to keep this information to yourselves but to impart this into our communities to make sure this forum has the desired impact", he stated.
The GEMA and GRA joint team, from next week, is expected to embark on tax compliance activities within Haatso, the pilot area.