Out of about six million eligible Ghanaian taxpayers, over 1.5 million of them do not pay tax, making Ghana to record the lowest Tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in Africa, according to a report by Tax consultant.
It is therefore clear for Ghana to meet the Sub-Saharan average target of 17 percent which is above the 13 percent mark in the last few years, though various governments have over the years tried to upscale.
In a stakeholders meeting organized by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) in collaboration with Oxfam, the lead consultant, John Okyere, said, the report is aimed at assessing the tax positions as per the official manifestos of the two major political parties in the just-ended presidential and parliamentary elections.
The two part report is to promote equity in tax incentives and exemptions for taxpayers in the country.
Okyere explained that because Ghana collects less tax, it relies mostly on external financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Bonds, among others to survive as huge amounts are lost through leakages.
He further noted that about 10 billion dollars are lost through tax exemptions in the last two years, adding that there is the need to mobilize more funds through Domestic Revenue Mobilisation (DRM).
Policy Analyst with ISODEC, Bernard Anaba, also added that taxes enable governments to plan and implement policies properly and so, citizens should support the raising and spending of taxes because it plays an important role in national development.
Executive Director of Revenue Mobilisation Africa, Geoffrey Kabutey Ocancey, called for more education and sensitization on the relevance of taxpaying that would encourage voluntary compliance.
He pointed out that tax education should be introduced in the syllabus of Primary Education through to tertiary level to improve the understanding of the tax system among the less educated in the country.
Mr Ocancey advised the government to put appropriate measures and policies in place to increase tax collection, broaden the tax net, train more tax collectors and make sure Tax Exemption Bill is regulated effectively and efficiently.
“It is, therefore, advisable to have a proper update on location, ownership, and type of use of property so as to collect the right property rates by the assemblies to develop the country,” he said.
By Eric Nii Sackey