About 850 million Ghana cedis or 192.9 million US Dollars in revenue from the downstream petroleum sector were lost to Ghana in 2016 alone, Executive Director of policy think tank Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) Benjamin Boakye disclosed here on Friday.
Analysis of figures from the downstream regulator, National Petroleum Agency (NPA) according to him indicated that these losses were the result of illegal trade in petroleum.
“There is a bigger challenge with tax collection from Ghana’s rather large informal sector. About 1.2 million people are recognized tax payers, out of which only 200,000 come from the informal sector,” Boakye observed at the launch of an Open Tax platform that encourages citizens to volunteer to honor their tax obligations and volunteer information on possible tax evasion by others.
Although addressing the challenges of tax revenue mobilization, particularly from the informal sector, is the function of the State through the tax authorities the Executive Director suggested that the general public has a crucial role to play in this, particularly where the capacity of the State to detect complex tax evasion schemes is limited.
A lower Middle Income Country (MIC) Ghana’s tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was about 15.4percent in 2016 which falls far below the average of its sub-regional peers which stands above 25 percent.
Already due to lower-than forecast revenue turn-out government was compelled to cut its projected expenditure to the tune of 3.6 billion Ghana cedis or 820 million during the first quarter (Q1) of this year.
The ACEP Executive Director was convinced that much more revenue would come into the nations coffers if the general public plays its role in supporting state agencies in tax revenue mobilization and boosting the capacity of the State to detect complex tax evasion scheme.
Anita Naadu Anaba-Ania a Senior Revenue Officer at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) said the state revenue body through its recently launched Voluntary Tax Compliance policy would embark on an aggressive educational drive to ensure that all income earners in Ghana appreciate the need for tax compliance. Enditem