Dr Edward Larbi-Siaw, Tax Policy Advisor at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, has urged Ghanaian business community to embrace the ECOWAS Common External Tariffs to expand their business.
He said Common External Tariffs allow industries to expand to take over from other businesses and urged the business community not to be afraid to take such opportunities.
Dr Larbi-Siaw was speaking at the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) 2015 Stakeholder Awards organised in Accra to recognise excellence in revenue mobilization and motivate all who participated to achieve the Authority’s objectives.
The Common External Tariff is one of the instruments of harmonising ECOWAS Member States and strengthening its Common Market.
The ceremony awarded 21 companies, including the Ghana News Agency and individuals who contributed immensely to the growth and sustainability of the economy and celebrated them for their efforts.
It also created a platform for GRA to familiarise, acknowledge and appreciate stakeholders as well as other organisations that helped the Authority carry out its mandated obligations.
Dr Larbi-Siaw therefore urged the public to embrace the policy instead of trying to fight it from a position that was unattainable.
“Dialogue with GRA and develop spirit of corporation to resolve issues,” he added.
Mr George Blankson, the Commissioner General of GRA, said the occasion was to recognise tax payers who have gone extra miles to honour their obligation and other stakeholders who assisted the GRA in its activities.
He said the year 2015 saw consistent challenges but it was also a year that a lot have been achieved as they exceeded their revenue target.
Mr Blankson said in spite of the challenges in the economy last year, the Authority collected GH₵22.17 billion, given a positive deviation of GH₵620 million.
He said the 2015 revenue mobilisation performance showed a growth of GH₵5.014 billion, representing 29.3 per cent over the previous year.
He said the main reasons accounting for the achievement of the target were the strategies adopted by the Management to ensure that the taxpayers encountered less difficulties as well as encouraging them to comply voluntarily.
Mr Blankson said in 2016, the Authority would stay the course of the measures taken in 2015 that gave them the positive results,“we will continue to make tax payment easier to customers to voluntarily comply,” he assured.
Mr Frank Gamadey, a Board Member of GRA, said the Authority will continue to ensure improved customer service and urged the public to keep them on their toes by demanding best customer service delivery from the GRA.
He said voluntary tax compliance would be achieved if customers saw improvement in customer service delivery, “and on behalf of the authority I want to assure you that we will continue to improve customer service to enhance voluntary tax compliance among our customers”.
Mr Gamadey therefore urged customers to ensure that other colleagues who flout tax payment were brought to book as pertains in developed countries.
“I entreat you to assist GRA to bring those people to book, because it is unfair for those people to partake in benefits that they do not contribute to,” he added.
He congratulated the awardees for their achievements and expressed the hope that the awards scheme would be expanded in future to cover more customers.
Mr Samuel Sarpong, acting Managing Director of GCB Bank Limited, one of the Awardees, on behalf of other awardees said it was worth to be recognised as a citizenry and thanked GRA for the awards.
He urged GRA to continue the efforts to widen the tax net to ensure that everybody honoured their tax obligation to build the country.