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01.02.2006 Business & Finance

New system to facilitate revenue collection launched

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - An electronic database system to facilitate the collection of revenue and to avoid the loss of Government revenue was launched in Accra on Wednesday with a call for attitudinal change in the payment of taxes.

This would enable the country to generate the needed revenue and to reduce the over dependence on donor countries for support, Mr Charles Bintim, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development said. "If assemblies could mobilise the due revenue, central funds which were often used to support them could be used for other projects." He suggested that the assemblies should consider the use of more commission collectors, who would show commitment in mobilising revenue because they were paid on commission.

The project dubbed: "Urban Management Land Information Systems (UMLIS)", which is being funded with a Swedish International Cooperation Agency grant of 1.1 million dollars, would begin on pilot basis at the Ayawaso Sub-Metro in Accra.

Mr Bintim, who launched the project, noted that revenue mobilisation had been a big challenge to the Ministry as only a fraction of Government revenue was mobilised last year.

He said lack of funds continued to be an obstacle to the implementation of development projects and, therefore, making it difficult for the country to sustain its development projects. Mr Bintim expressed the hope that the project would be successful in order to mobilise the needed revenue for development and pledged the Ministry's support in all areas to sustain the projects.

Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, said the project, which was being supported by the Ministry, would assist the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to build a sound database to enhance development and the control of its revenue collection.

He said the project would also enhance access to land use information for orderly development of the city and serve as an urban management effort to implement priorities of the Assembly.

He said revenue generation over the years had not been encouraging due to inadequate data on rateable properties, low level of information and absence of electronic data to ensure an effective city management. "It is against this background that we consider the UMLIS a timely intervention for the Assembly and a complement to other initiatives such as the Street Naming and House Numbering Project."

Mr Adjiri-Blankson called for capacity building for Assembly staff, saying that procedures for revenue management should be the first priority in the design of the project.

He said the Assembly, as a demonstration of their commitment, had commissioned the construction of offices to accommodate the pilot project at the Ayawaso Sub-Metro Office.

Mr Ake Finnstrom, Marketing Director of Swedesurvey of Sweden, Consultants for the project, said the UMLIS would enhance Ghana's development objective of good governance, private sector and human resource development, as well as contribute to the attainment of middle-income status.

"In terms of human resource, we would train Ghanaians to build their capacity on this technology...."

He said the project was time consuming so the collaboration of all stakeholders was needed to ensure success.

Mr Kwame Awonyo, Managing Director of Geo-Tech System Limited, local consultants, called on private enterprises to explore avenues to fund projects to improve the living conditions of Ghanaians. He said the project would be beneficial not only for property rate mobilisation but would also assist security agencies, tourists, financial institutions and utility service providers to easily locate places.

Mr Awonyo appealed to the Government to reduce bureaucratic procedures that private companies went through in obtaining funds from foreign donors. 01 Feb. 06

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