Ghana’s Tax Administration Faces Controversy Over Indian Firm Deal

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Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)
Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)

Julie Essiam, the newly appointed Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has sparked controversy by unilaterally approving a deal that awards Ghana’s domestic tax mobilization to Tata Consultancy Services, an Indian company, alongside its local partner IPMC.

The decision, set to take effect in 2026, has raised serious concerns about transparency and national interest.

Sources within GRA have disclosed to Techfocus24 that Essiam personally traveled to India to finalize the contract with Tata Consultancy Services despite objections and procedural irregularities. Allegations include the consolidation of IT contracts under her direct oversight, bypassing the GRA’s Support Services Department (SSD).

The controversial move originated in 2022 under the tenure of former Commissioner-General Rev. Dr. Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah but faced setbacks, including budgetary constraints and opposition from within GRA and its dissolved board. Despite these challenges, Essiam proceeded with the agreement, sidelining objections from the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the Central Tender Review Committee (CTRC).

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Dr. Owusu-Amoah initiated earlier efforts to cancel the contract process in January 2024. These efforts were reportedly influenced by budget limitations and concerns about the capability of the selected local contractor, Axon Information Systems. Axon’s ITAS (Integrated Tax Administration System), GITMIS, has been commended for exceeding revenue targets over multiple years.

The contentious decision has drawn criticism for potentially compromising data security and placing undue financial risks on future administrations. Since its dissolution, the absence of a functioning GRA board has further empowered Essiam to push through the deal unilaterally.

Critics argue that the preference for Tata Consultancy Services disregards the proven capabilities of local entities and exposes Ghanaian taxpayer data to external control. The CTRC has overridden previous disqualifications of Tata Consultancy Services for failing to meet deployment experience and local content requirements, fueling concerns about governance and procedural integrity.

Gra Final
Gra Final

As Ghana prepares for elections in 2024, the fate of the tax mobilization contract now rests with the incoming government. The government must decide whether to uphold the agreement or revert to local management by Axon Information Systems, acclaimed for its cost-effective and proficient service delivery.

The decision to entrust Ghana’s tax administration to an international firm has broader implications beyond revenue collection, potentially affecting national sovereignty and economic policies. The unfolding controversy underscores ongoing debates over foreign involvement in critical national infrastructures and the stewardship of taxpayer resources.
The decision to award Tata Consultancy Services the contract amid objections and procedural lapses has intensified scrutiny of GRA’s leadership and its adherence to procurement guidelines. Questions linger over the long-term consequences of outsourcing critical national functions to foreign entities, particularly amid accusations of undue influence and procedural irregularities.

Ctrc Final
Ctrc Final

For a detailed examination of the processes leading to Essiam’s contentious decision and its potential impact on Ghana’s fiscal policies, visit the link provided.

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