Mr Osei Bonsu Amoah, Minister of State-designate for the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Tuesday clarified the government’s decision to partner with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to collect property tax.
He said for the assurance of cost recovery by the government in providing infrastructure for the collection of property rate, it was implied that a share ratio would be decided upon with the Assemblies.
The Goverment’s decision of having GRA collect property taxes, however, attracted objections for potentially stifling Assemblies.
But in response to questions when he appeared before the Vetting Committee of Parliament, Mr Amoah rejected the arguments.
According to him, the teamwork with GRA would broaden the tax net.
“Mr Chairman, the Ministry of Finance has been complaining for some time now that the amount of revenue they expect from property rates administration is a bit disappointing.
“The assemblies have also not been able to meet the required levels because they have their challenges, the mode of collection, the billing systems, and enforcement arrangements.
We collect peanuts and at times, for years, no assessments are made. So this whole arrangement with GRA brings in a certain amount of reform and dynamism, so we reap so much from the property rate. This is the best way to go,” he told the Committee.
The government has been held liable for ceasing to function to raise much-needed revenue through property taxes.
Property tax collection had therefore been digitalised, making it easier for Ghanaians to pay.
Now, all property owners are expected to pay for their properties using the government’s cashless system, as a result of the partnership between the GRA and Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
Mr Amoah, also the Akuapem South Member of Parliament (NPP), noted that some Assemblies observed that they were handicapped in the enforcement of property rates.
“We need a situation where people will be named and shamed and prosecuted. The law has made those provisions and we have to let people know this, that is why the system has been modernised,” he said.
Property rate is an annual levy imposed on immovable property on the value of a property.
The amount varies between specified areas of a district and in respect of property used for different purposes be it commercial, residential or mixed-use and area classifications – first class, second class and third class.