Tax accountability is a sure way for government to encourage citizens to pay their taxes to contribute  towards national development.  

This is according to experts and industry players who participated in a roundtable discussion organized  by the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on “Taxation and Accountability in  Ghana.” 

In its 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, government introduced six new levies and  increased other existing taxes, with the aim of helping to rebuild the country’s public finances. While  some argued that the imposition of these new taxes were ill-timed, others bemoaned the lack of  infrastructural development after years of paying various taxes. 

Findings from Afrobarometer Round 8 survey conducted in 2019 indicate that although majority of  Ghanaians (72%) are willing to pay more in taxes to help finance the country’s development from  domestic resources, a similar proportion (70%) say they find it “difficult” or “very difficult” getting  information about what the government does with taxes it collects. 

Thus, the CDD-Ghana’s roundtable discussion, serves as a platform for policy makers, tax experts, and representatives from institutions and associations such as the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the  Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) to interrogate how the country  can achieve a clear and effective balance between the concerns for accountability, negative  economic impact and essential need for financing development in the COVID era. 

The panelists identified lack of accountability, embezzlement of public funds, and abuse of tax  exemptions as some of the key causes influencing tax evasion and lack of tax compliance.  

Hon. Kwaku Kwarteng, Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee and Member of Parliament (MP)  for Obuasi West, stressed the importance of being transparent and accountable to citizens on how tax  revenues are spent.  

“It is important for us to hold government and public office holders accountable when it comes to  taxation because citizens need to know that the monies they pay to the state by way of taxes are  being put to good use,” he said.

The former Deputy Finance Minister encouraged businesses, individuals and the general public to  honour their tax obligations to boost the internally generated revenue needed to address the  developmental needs of the country. 

Hon. Dr. Ato Forson, Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee and MP for Ajumako Enyan  Essiam, was of the view that tax increments and introduction of new levies were not the solution to  increasing tax revenues. He recommended the enforcement of tax laws, true accountability on tax  revenues and an urgent review of tax treaties and exemptions, which according to him are being  abused by some multi-national institutions and certain individuals. 

On his part, Prof. William Baah-Boateng, Head of Economics Department at the University of Ghana,  advocated for the digitization of the payment of direct taxes and review of the existing tax exemption laws to block loopholes which cause the state to lose revenue meant for national development.  

Mr. Abeku Gyan-Quansah, Tax Partner at PwC, supported calls for the passage of the Tax Exemptions Bill which was submitted in Parliament in 2019. 

CDD-Ghana’s roundtable discussions provide an avenue and the space for well-informed reflections  and conversations on various topics of national interest. The discussion on ‘Taxation and Accountability  in Ghana’ which is the fourth in the series of roundtables to be organized this year, forms part of the  Center’s commitment to ensuring inclusive development by educating citizens on taxation and  encouraging the demand for government accountability on tax expenditure, while advocating for tax  reforms. 


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