Ghana: Move Away From Current Approach of Collecting VAT - GRA Told

20 November 2019

A tax expert, Abdallah Ali-Nakyea, has kicked against the current approach of collecting of the Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Describing the current withholding method of VAT collection where companies have to deduct and later remit to GRA as a "lazy approach," in tax collection.

He said the current method did not promote "tax compliance" and that accounted for the failure of companies and organisations to pay tax to the state.

According to him most countries including Ethiopia was moving away from the withholding system of tax collection and the GRA must do same.

Mr Ali-Nakyea who was speaking at the KPMG budget forum on the 2020 budget statement and economic policy of the government in Accra on Monday, suggested that GRA should institute an arrangement to promptly collect VAT collected by VAT withholding companies on its behalf.

The 2020 budget statement and economic policy of government is on the theme "Consolidating the gains for growth, jobs and prosperity for all."

Contributing to panel discussion on the budget, the Tax Consultant with Ali-Nakyea and Associate stressed that the GRA should be in position to quickly collect taxes due the state and should not shirk that responsibility to businesses and companies, who have to deduct the taxes and later refund to the GRA.

He suggested a quarterly verification of companies to ensure that they were paying their taxes, and said the some NABCo personnel posted to the GRA could be trained to carry out such exercise.

Mr Ali-Nakyea further entreated the GRA to desist from its current tax enforcement approach whereby it closed down companies which were not paying tax, stressing that "if you close down a company its suppliers cannot supply to them and the company cannot operate to pay the taxes it owed the state."

The Vice President of the Association of Ghana Industries in charge of Small and Medium-Scale Enteprises, Mr Humphrey Ayim-Darke said the government must develop a clear export strategy to help boost the country's exports.

He also said the government must target specific industries and support them to grow as happened in other countries.

The Senior Partner of KPMG, Anthony Sarpong in his remarks commended the government for its commitment to fiscal discipline as outline in next year's budget.

He also said the macroeconomic indicators across all sectors of the economy were trending in the right direction.

"The broad macroeconomic performance for 2019 and the medium term framework look stable and provide some level of predictability for planning," he said.

However, Mr Sarpong raise qualms about high interest rate and the cost of doing business in Ghana and urged government to put measure in place to address them.

The Minister Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta said the 2020 budget was achievable and measures had been put in place to ensure budget discipline in spite of the fact that the country had exited the Extended Credit Facility programme with the IMF.

"The government has put together a budget which is inclusive and achievable," he said.

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