A senior officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has reiterated the need for Ghanaians to pay taxes as it is the country’s surest way to pool the necessary resources for development.
“It is just like refusing to donate blood; you are indirectly just setting yourself up for disaster; because if even you don’t get sick and need blood, it is very likely that a relative or a friend will need the blood, and if you do not have a bank of blood for your blood group available, it may be disastrous.”
Mr. Ciza Amponsah, who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra pointed out that evasion of taxes was harm in disguise to taxable Ghanaians who are taxable but dodged their financial obligations to the State.
“Similarly, if we do not pay taxes, and we use all of our money to buy expensive cars, then we will end up destroying the cars because there is no money to build good roads to make the driving of your car enjoyable. Your car will break down and you will end up spending more money to repair it.”
Mr Amponsah, who is a high-up at the Tema Oil Refinery branch of the GRA summed up the logic simply in the words, “little drops of taxes, make a mighty budget for the nation.”
His take was advanced, when he was asked about the low tax response of Ghanaians and what the GRA was doing about it.
He explained that the GRA had tailored a number of innovative programmes including; the institution of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) and the profiling of institutions from which tax eligible Ghanaians could be identified.
“However, at the end of the day, if the ordinary Ghanaian does not make up his or her mind and sees how needful the payment of taxes are, the efforts are not going to yield fruits and we all lose,” he said.
Out of some six million taxable Ghanaians, it is said that only some 1.5million pay taxes, a situation that has often left the country’s tax to GDP ratio in bad match.
Given this situation, Mr. Amponsah said that, “complaints that we all make about lack of development in our country, really, does not fit in realms of logic; what we are then saying is that, as a group of some 30 million people, we expect that the taxes that only 1.5million of us pay, should be enough to cater for all our developmental needs. This is simply, illogical.”
He therefore urged Ghanaians to take time to reflect on the irony that almost everybody was living, and committing to paying taxes so the nation can develop.
“When we compare ourselves with the developed countries and question ourselves why we just cannot get there, I feel we should just know that the ladder to getting to where they are, is the tax; there are no two ways about it. We are living a lie, if we refuse to pay taxes and expect to develop.”
Mr Amponsah said for their part, the GRA is working hard to ensure that the tax culture changed and praised the innovative leadership of Commissioner General, Kofi Nti, whom he said brought so much ingenuity to the job.
He also praised the tireless efforts of the National Security and other agencies who worked in tandem with the GRA.