The Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre Professor Emeritus Oti Boateng, has urged the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to apply renowned philosopher and economist Adam Smith’s ideas of strict compliance to relevant tax laws and customs to execute its core mandate aimed at fulfilling its set goals and targets.
Speaking at GRA’s 2021 management retreat at Koforidua, Eastern Region, on Thursday, 22 April 2021, the former Government Statistician said an examination of GRA’s third strategic plan 2019-2021, reveals the desire to fulfil its core mandate of ensuring sustainable revenue mobilisation for national development through maximum compliance with all relevant tax and customs-related laws, akin to the observation made nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago by Adam Smith, who singled out taxation alongside peace and justice as pivotal to a successful society.
According to Adam Smith, the five strategic goals underlying the strategic plan are to grow revenue, improve customs and domestic tax compliance, leverage Information and Communication Technology (ICT), enhance administrative efficiency and develop professional and motivated staff.
The theme for the retreat; “Digitisation and Compliance for Effective Tax Mobilisation”, according to the Chancellor of All Nations University essentially falls under components 2 and 3.
“This theme is relevant and timely, coming at a time when the country is moving from its manual processes to a digital system. This theme is in line with the Digital Ghana Agenda which seeks to cover as much of the digitally deprived communities in the country. The biometric National Identity Card; the National Digital Property Addressing System; the introduction of paperless port operations all represent significant milestones in the country’s journey to digitisation. And your digitisation and compliance for effective tax mobilisation theme revolves around the core mandate of sustainable revenue mobilisation for national development,” he added.
Spelling out measures for deeper informal sector penetration and voluntary tax compliance, Daasebre Oti Boateng said the award-winning root-based development model, inspires a new development order beyond economic growth and other income-related variables to include the three core values of life sustenance, self-esteem and freedom.
The model creates a dynamic bottom-up institutional architecture to ensure that the citizenship within the communities become the resource base and centre of sustainable development.
It addresses the importance of harmonising the traditions and culture of the indigenous people integrated with modern approaches as the basis of sustainable community development and governance.
Above all, it creates and defines the basis of the citizens sector as the key sector for citizens-led community development that would play an effective complementary and partnership role to the government and the private sector in a win-win scenario.
“It is my humble postulate that for the GRA to have a much deeper penetration into the informal sector for optimal revenue mobilisation; it is crucial for the GRA to collaborate closely with the root-based institutions at the grassroots so as to benefit from both the internalised communal support system and generations of community institutional memory. This process will also facilitate increased taxpayer education thereby improving voluntary tax compliance at the community level”.
He further noted that GRA can also assist in the creation of capital and wealth in the communities to generate accelerated and sustainable development thereby improving tax mobilisation.
This process would entail adequate documentation and registration of all buildings, parcels of land, equipment and stores of inventories in the communities in order to produce capital out of the huge accumulated community assets.
He added that integrated databases on all these properties including accountable address system should be established to assist, among others, in the collection of taxes and debts.
This should form the basis for the creation of a universal and reliable public utilities and a foundation for the creation of securities (like mortgage-backed bonds) that can then be rediscounted and sold in secondary markets.
The recapitalisation of the national economy through this representational process will provide the force that raises the productivity of labour and creates the wealth of the nation, he further stated.