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Let’s work to exceed the GH¢145 billion target in the 2024 budget – Amin Adam tells GRA

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The new Minister of Finance Mohammed Amin Adams

The Minister of Finance, Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, has told the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), that he expects that to exceed the GH¢145 billion target outlined in the 2024 Budget.

Quite sincerely, he said, the Finance Ministry and the GRA need to urgently agree a roadmap to enable us to exceed the revenue target and meet pressing needs, including completing critical infrastructure.

Achieving and exceeding the targets is also critical to the success of the IMF-Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme. We cannot afford to miss our commitments programme, he said.

Dr Amin Adam said these when he paid a working visit to the GRA on Monday February 19, his first major working visit after replacing Ken Ofori-Atta as Finance Minister in the recent ministerial reshuffle done by President Akufo-Addo on February 14.

“I expect that we work together, through a structured framework, to exceed the GH¢145 billion target outlined in the 2024 Budget. Quite sincerely, we need to urgently agree a roadmap to enable us to exceed the revenue target and meet pressing needs, including completing critical infrastructure,” he said.

He added “It is also time to roll-out and expand the E-VAT mechanism, despite whatever challenges exist. We saw the potential collections from the Pilot Phase. We cannot continue to prolong and delay the implementation, especially under the programme. We must also work with renewed urgency towards reducing the human contact in the revenue processes and introduce a faceless assessment system. This is a sure way to give taxpayers a great experience and boost revenue mobilization.

“Commissioner-General, as you may be aware, the perception of corruption in the ports or trade and entry remains very high. I have seen reports that tend to confirm some of these perceptions. And I know you all have received similar reports. We continue to lose revenue through the actions and inactions of clearing agents, shipping companies and some of our own customs officials.

“I personally intend to visit the ports, together with some of your officers to engage and assess for myself some of the issues at first-hand. We need you to continue to instill discipline and minimize revenue leakages through misdescriptions, misclassification, and over and under-invoicing.”

Below is hois full address during the meeting…

SPEECH FOR ENGAGEMENT WITH THE MANAGEMENT OF

GHANA REVENUE AUTHORITY

 FEBRUARY, 2024

Commissioner-General;

Deputy Commissioners; and

Management Members of GRA

  1. It is a pleasure to interact with you and your Management this afternoon. You are the first agency of the MOF that I am visiting since I became the substantive Minister. My Mission is simple: to indicate my strong support for domestic revenue mobilization and engage on how to advance this cause with speed, at scale and in a citizen friendly way.
  2. Undoubtedly, revenue mobilisation is a key priority of Government. This has assumed greater significance in the context of the on-going fiscal consolidation reforms. The role of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in meeting this key priority is clearly beyond question. Now I believe you understand why I have prioritised GRA.
  3. Commissioner-General, this Institution continues to perform admirably well. Last year, you managed to exceed the revenue target for 2023. Although the public seems to question the framework for target setting, I congratulate you on this achievement. However, this achievement also reveals the depth of potential to be optimised. This view is also shared by the wider public.
  4. I expect that we work together, through a structured framework, to exceed the GH¢145 billion target outlined in the 2024 Budget. Quite sincerely, we need to urgently agree a roadmap to enable us to exceed the revenue target and meet pressing needs, including completing critical infrastructure.
  5. Achieving and exceeding the targets is also critical to the success of the IMF-Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme. We cannot afford to miss our commitments programme.
  6. Commissioner-General, I take this opportunity to reiterate to you and your team the three (3) key commitments you made under the programme for 2024:
  7. cleaning of the GRA taxpayer register by end-June 2024;
  8. complete data migration from all existing portals to the ITAS;
  • operationalize the major modules (registration, returns filing and payments) in the system (and processes needed to be completed prior to that) by end December 2024.
  1. . I expect that your Team works assiduously to honour these obligations and on time. Attaining these and other targets as well as benchmarks will speak to and reinforce our commitment to stay the course on the IMF programme. This will continue to improve business sentiments and have a positive spill-over effect into other areas. We simply have to stay the course.
  2. Already, we seem to be lagging with the implementation of the 2024 Revenue measures which commenced from January 1, 2024. In as much as we are challenged in the implementation of the VAT on domestic electricity consumption, the same cannot be said for the other measures. The delay will obviously affect our ability to generate revenue at an optimal level. We need to operate with urgency and focus in these matters.
  3. Commissioner-General, it is also important that we achieve operational efficiency. This we must do by leveraging the power of digital solutions under Government’s Digitalisation Agenda. Optimising the available data (GhanaCARD, DVLA, Lands Commission, and others) to inform revenue collections decisions should be a top priority in the next two-months. It will not only address potential tax avoidance but improve efforts to address tax evasion.
  4. It is also time to roll-out and expand the E-VAT mechanism, despite whatever challenges exist. We saw the potential collections from the Pilot Phase. We cannot continue to prolong and delay the implementation, especially under the programme. We must also work with renewed urgency towards reducing the human contact in the revenue processes and introduce a faceless assessment system. This is a sure way to give taxpayers a great experience and boost revenue mobilization.
  5. Commissioner-General, as you may be aware, the perception of corruption in the ports or trade and entry remains very high. I have seen reports that tend to confirm some of these perceptions. And I know you all have received similar reports. We continue to lose revenue through the actions and inactions of clearing agents, shipping companies and some of our own customs officials.
  6. I personally intend to visit the ports, together with some of your officers to engage and assess for myself some of the issues at first-hand. We need you to continue to instil discipline and minimize revenue leakages through misdescriptions, misclassification, over and under invoicing.
  7. Commissioner-General, I assure you and your Team of my strong support. We are here to serve a country and that is our utmost priority. If it is to do with increasing revenue, do not hesitate to reach out to me or my Team at the Ministry. Let’s work together with renewed energy for God and Country.

 



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