Ghana: Journalists Build Capacity in Tax, Revenue Mobilisation

A two-day training workshop aimed at building the capacity of journalists on taxation and revenue mobilisation, ended on Sunday at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

It was on the theme: 'Bringing the informal sector into the tax net, the role of the media.'

The programme, organised by the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) in collaboration with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) attracted over 45 media practitioners and editors.

Topics discussed, included the significance of Tax Identification Number (TIN),penalties for tax evasion for nation-building , impact of tax waivers on Ghana's economy and purchase of vehicles; what to look for /what to do/temporary vehicle importation .

The rest are emerging trends in tax administration , corporate institutions and the PAYE policy -compliance and challenges , iTaPS, auction of confiscated goods and vehicles and movements of goods under suspense regimes.

The Commissioner -General Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti speaking at the ceremony urged businesses to seek professional help on their obligations in order not to fall into trouble.

According to him, tax is about equity and it behoves every business to be conscious of the tax laws and honour its obligation instead of the tax officials going after them.

"The GRA does not only bark but can also bite hard, that is why we have launched a prosecution policy to prosecute recalcitrant taxpayers and income earners who may take the institution for granted," he said.

He indicated that more work needed to be done and called for more collaboration adding that "was why the partnership with PRINGAG would inure to the benefit of the national kitty".

The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Eric Kwakye Darfour said the time has come to focus more on the informal sector that consist of people in sectors, including agriculture , fish and fish processing , market trading , and agro-based processing.

"The effective and efficient imposition of income tax on the informal sector holds the great prospect of closing the yawning gap in the domestic revenue generation,"he added.

The President of PRINPAG, Mr Andrew Edwin Arthur, lamented the various ploys used by residents to escape their tax obligation which has the tendency to derail government planned development programmes.

To help change these negative practices, he called on the media to effectively partner the country's tax authorities to disseminate the right information to convince the potential tax payer to decide to voluntarily honour their tax obligations.

The President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mr Affail Monney, who chaired the opening ceremony, commended the organisers of the programme for the foresight adding that "the greatest need of a modern journalist is capacity building to enable him or her uplift the economic prosperity of the country".

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