Accra, Jan. 29, GNA- Apostle Micheal Ntumi, Chairman of the Church of Pentecost on Sunday said it was incumbent on any Christian worth his or her salt to pay taxes to government. "God has placed it as a responsibility the duty on everyone to pay tax. The Bible states categorically that anyone who does not pay tax should be punished," he said.
Apostle Ntumi was delivering a sermon at the annual thanksgiving service of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service in Accra. The occasion was used to show gratitude to God for the Institutions ability to make modest gains last year, and to seek his guidance to meet this years' target.
It was also used to remember CEPS personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty last year. Apostle Ntumi who based his sermon on the theme: "What are you Doing Here", stated that the laws, the Bible and the Koran enjoined everyone to pay tax, adding, "It is a civic responsibility." He said that as CEPS determined how much taxes people pay and as its personnel handle the mobilisation of revenue, they should listen to "still small voice" asking "what are you doing here". The Minister exhorted them to ensure that as they collected revenue for the state, they do so in an upright and honest manner, because they were some among them who collected money and used it on themselves.
He said as frontline revenue mobilisation agency, its personnel should not reduce the tax obligations of clients for favours and neither should they inflate duties to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation. Apostle Ntumi prayed that God gave them his grace to be faithful and truthful to the nation as the mobilised revenue just like Joseph did in Egypt. "I pray that you are moved to honest dedicated service to the country. I also pray that you would be established and receive favour and blessing from God as you work diligently and honestly." He implored CEPS personnel to be inspired by the principle of patriotism and integrity in order to achieve this year's target, saying, "With God on your side this will be a year of excellence, greater achievement and performance." The Minister also prayed that God protected personnel as they performed their duties. Maj. Gen. Richardson Baiden, CEPS Commissioner said the Service had been privileged within the past three years to meet its targets and had every reason to be grateful and thankful for God's mercies. He said last year's achievements and failures should train them for success this year, adding, "By thanking God, we are revealing His goodness in the past year for our modest achievement of 11.3 trillion cedis and seeking His strength to strive for grater heights of the 15 trillion for this year."
The Commissioner prayed for God's favour for personnel of the Service to work hard, stay physically fit, mentally sharp, socially adept in order to achieve their aim this year. "Let us remember, everything big, starts with something small. The challenge this year is very big but thanking God for our 11.3 trillion cedis, I am hopeful and have a firm believe that our God who gives exceedingly abundantly that what we ask for, has already made a provision for us to excel", he added.
The occasion was also used to raise funds for the Heart Foundation of the Cardiothorasic Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. CEPS in the past three years have been making an annual contribution of 50 million cedis, but has decided to up the amount to 70 million cedis this year.