Consultants Needed For Digital Property Taxation Initiative
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Digital Property Taxation Initiative (DPTI)
- Background, Rationale and Purpose of the DPTI
Africa is the fastest urbanising continent on the plant (ICTD, 2019). In Ghanaian cities, the evidence is clear with ever-growing construction and demand for properties in the major cities. To provide adequate public goods and services, and invest in sustainable infrastructure at the local levels, Ghanaians cities need a stable form of financing at the subnational level. Property taxation is equitable and provides the most sustainable form of local government financing. Within the developed nations, on average, property taxation account for about 2.2% of GDP. Interestingly, property taxation makes up only 0.38% of GDP in Africa (ICTD, 2019). With booming cities in Ghana through the growth in affluence level, the continual influx of people into the country for oil or other businesses, and rising investment into the property sector, property taxation now presents a great opportunity to raise the needed revenue to finance local development. Having a successful initiative to tax properties within Ghanaian cities could help provide a secured form of financing in critical areas such as healthcare, sanitation, education and offer direct support to the vulnerable at the local level.
The main challenge to effectively design a property taxation system in Ghana and other developing countries is the lack of data about property ownership data and standard valuation records. In Ghana, the government’s digital property addressing system (currently underway) will be pivotal to the success of any property taxation initiative. So far, few properties (mainly in large cities) have been captured on the system, indicating that properties liable for the payment of taxes (in some selected areas) can be readily assessed, but not so easily in other areas. As the government plans to finish the process soon, it will be an added instrument for DRM mobilization.
One important question that usually crops up regarding property taxation is ‘should central or local governments be responsible for its collection and administration? Across Africa, there is a great variation in practice - but one particularly significant divide is that between francophone and anglophone countries. The former commonly adopt centralized systems, while the latter usually decentralize key aspects of property taxation such as collection and administration (Goodfellow, 2017).
The local government Act (Act 936 of 2016) provides the legal basis for fiscal decentralization which involves assigning of expenditure responsibilities and revenue generating powers from the centre to the lower levels of government. This empowers the local authorities to collect/administer certain taxes including those levied on properties.
Immobile assets (properties) are suitable for taxing locally because unlike firms, they are not easily shifted between localities to escape any increase in local rates. Real estate is the ultimate immobile asset, making the recurrent property tax particularly well-suited to local control (Goodfellow, 2017).
Administering property taxes locally has a number of benefits. First, property taxes if well administered and revenue well used could help build accountability between local governments providing services and the population using these services. Secondly, administering property taxes locally can help strengthen the link between properties and basic local services such as water, sanitation and local roads. Furthermore, property taxation requires understanding of the local terrain – local authorities tend to have good local knowledge of properties and their owners including new ones under construction. Therefore, administering such a tax locally has an advantage of reducing potential for tax dodging. Again, there is greater incentive for collection of the taxes if the revenue directly ends up in their accounts, compared to when the revenue is to be sent to the central government for redistribution.
Finally, with the election of metropolitan, municipal, and district chief executives (MMDCEs) on course, there is a greater incentive for local control of property taxes. For example, where opposition party takes control of an assembly, being able to collect their own taxes could help overcome the incidence of being staved of central government funds.
One of the main challenges to efficient property taxation is lack of reliable data about properties (including value) and owners. This is because in most cases, property taxation is administered manually. To improve property tax revenue, overcome capacity constraints, improve data management, streamline administrative efficiency, reduce corruption and improve transparency it is important to have an ICT led system.
The Digital Property Taxation Initiative (DPTI)
For effective property taxation, it is important to maintain a property tax register. The property tax register must have a means to promptly identify and value newly-identified properties, and update the value of existing properties in line with inflation, depreciation or other economic factors. This is a repetitive process that can be accelerated by new technology, to facilitate computer assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) – the use of technology to automate aspects of property identification, data collection and the production (and verification) of property values based on that underlying information (Goodfellow, 2017).
The digital property taxation initiative aims to use an IT-led system (mobile-enabled application) to collect data about properties and owners, provide standardized valuation, and use GPS to generate property maps to enhance property taxes at the subnational level.
More specifically, the DPTI aims to explore and support piloting of property taxation in selected local government areas in Ghana to generate evidence for influencing national policy on property taxation in Ghana. The project is to be undertaken using an internet application (App).
Specific Object and Objectives of the DPTI
- To develop Digital App platform (software or App) capable of administering standardized property taxation for revenue mobilization and management with E-payment options and interfaces with the Financial Management Systems of local assemblies.
- To generate evidence of ratable properties and businesses for enhanced revenue collection and management at local assemblies
- To ensure consistency in billing, standardized valuation and accurate register of properties and their owners at the subnational level
Target Audience and Stakeholders
The DPTI targets property owners (individual and corporate owners) in two selected districts in Northern (Sagnarigu Municipal) and Western (Shama District) regions. The project intends to enhance property tax revenue at the local assemblies using an IT-led system (mobile-enabled application) and software which can integrate into the financial management system of the Assemblies for the tax collection.
The digital property tax initiative is expected to help enhance local tax revenue from properties and business establishments.
In the long-term, the digital property tax initiative is expected to provide a basis for national conversation on property tax administration reforms to promote efficiency and enhance revenue performance at both the sub-national and national levels.
To achieve this ambition, we have articulated 3 pathways:
- Phase 1: select a consultant to design the mobile-enabled application and an inhouse system (desktop) to administer the property taxation process - to capture data of properties and owners
- Phase 2: Select and agree with a (suitable) local assemble to pilot the initiative. The local partner should be willing to work with Oxfam and provide the needed support to pilot this initiative. Oxfam to agree with the local assemble, the details of terms of engagement and duration of the piloting.
- Phase 3: Implement and learn together how DPTI can reduce leakages, improve efficiency and better contribute to enhance revenue at the local assembly.
Scope of Work
The consultant will work with Oxfam and partners including the selected local assemblies in Sagnarigu and Sharma to;
- Design, supply and instal the Digital Property Tax (DPT) App to be used by field tax collection officers which is fully integrated into the local assembly’s main system(s)
- Design, supply and instal a standard software (desktop version of the App) to be able to link up (communicate in real time) with the mobile App and also the local assembly’s system.
- Design and install a standard website which is linked to the Software/App and allow customers to access their data remotely (outside of the App).
- Work with and train 10 staff of the assemblies, Oxfam and partners prior to implementation and provide back-stopping support
- Support Oxfam/partners and the local assemblies and be actively involved throughout the implementation process
The App/Software should;
- be able to record and store property ownership and valuation data
- be able to create customer (taxpayer) account, allow for taxpayer to be able to access payment history, balance, due dates, and able to print online invoices/payment receipts
- able to send reminders and payment receipts
- have location capabilities, and an interface for the tax officers to take payment.
- be able to have electronic signature (e.g. Thumb print) for taxpayers to confirm evidence of payment/accepting valuation
- be able to produce all forms of relevant standard reports e.g. payment history, property type, taxpayer type, tax officers, location (street/area) etc…
- be able to take mobile phone payment and credit/debit cards and all modern electronic payments.
Purpose of the Consultancy
To develop Digital App platform (software or App) capable of administering standardized property taxation for revenue mobilization and management with E-payment options and interfaces with the Financial Management Systems of two local assemblies
Oxfam in Ghana is looking for a consultant to support, guide and facilitate the design of Digital App platform (software or App) and toolkit. Within this project, we (Oxfam in Ghana stakeholders) aim to jointly define and develop Oxfam’s DPTI in line with Oxfam strategic intent articulated in the Ghana Domestic Revenue Mobilization and Social Accountability Model.
The consultant will support Oxfam in Ghana throughout phase 1 from the preparation up to the end of refinement phase.
Based on a collective approach and with agreement of Oxfam stakeholders in Ghana, the main output of the consultancy is to produce a concrete Digital App platform (software or App) capable of administering standardized property taxation for enhanced revenue mobilization and management with E-payment options and interfaces with the Financial Management Systems of two local assemblies and toolkit (manual/methodological guidance note). The assignment will cover at least: 1. the purpose(s) and the focus(es) of DPTI for Oxfam in Ghana and partners, 2. the people, process(es) and platform(s) required to achieve that purpose(s) and 3. the resources to achieve Oxfam’s agreed ambition.
In its initial design, the assignment includes 3 main phases:
- Preparation phase including identification, gathering, and analysis of existing knowledge experiences, defining and agreeing on the scope of work including identifying relevant external stakeholders to engage with and preparation of a co-creation workshop. The preparation phase is estimated to take approximately 2 weeks.
- A 1-day co-creation workshop gathering representatives of relevant stakeholders: The workshop will aim at answering questions regarding the draft digital platform and methodological guidance note that will be produced by the consultant. The group will also agree about the refinement phase: next practical steps, who is involved and when, clear decision making and accountability mechanisms.
- Implementation and refinement phase where the DPTI tools are further tested and refined and agreed by relevant stakeholders. The details of the implementation and refinement phase will be collectively defined and agreed upon during the co-creation workshop. This phase will also include people time commitment to support the work and finalization of the process. This phase is estimated to take approximately 12 months with possibility of extension to 24 months.
Schedule and Deliverables
To be completed by:
Signing of contract with this ToR, amended if needed.
Initial payment of 40% is to cover preliminary field work expenses including the conceptualization and testing of ideas
Finalized detailed work plan submitted to Oxfam with initial scoping done and tools developed and tested
Pre-defined DPTI App Platform submitted and 30% of payment made. This should be substantive and satisfactory for Oxfam
Review Comments required from and due: Oxfam, Local Assemblies, Local Government Service and others
Revisions by consultant/author:
Final draft due by:
Edits – Peer Review Team
Author accepts/rejects edits:
Final DPTI platform and related products completed satisfactorily and cleared by Oxfam and review teams. Final payment of 30% processed and effected
Duration: The TOR is expected to be agreed and contract signed by November 2019, and final product to be ready by February 2020.
The total budget available for this assignment is GHC 128,702.5 equivalent of $25,000xx. (Oxfam existing budget rate). This budget will need to be split in the detail planning between the different tasks and deliverables as agreed with successful consultants.
Pricing for this tender should be an offer capable of acceptance but bidders may submit several offers using their preferred methods of pricing on the basis of:
- Fixed service fee (all inclusive)
- Capped service fee with time & material rates for specific additional services (listed, quoted and rated)
- Service fee + % of negotiated premium
- Other model or some mix of the above
Pricing should be provided on the basis of the information provided in this ToR and the responses to clarifications requested. It is up to the Bidder to ensure that they have sufficient information on which to provide this pricing.
Where you are able to provide services across a range of options, you should indicate any discounts which would apply to your services if you are selected to carry out reviews in more than one case. In addition, you should indicate options for reviewing other options and the impact on your pricing if you are selected to do so.
While Oxfam reserves the right to carry out negotiations in order to ensure its services are competitive at all times, the bidder should provide pricing on a “Best and Final Offer” basis. Any assumptions not provided as part of the clarifications process should be clearly stated in the response and, where possible, associated costs indicated.
The format of the pricing submission should be in Excel format – pdf copies may be provided only as back-up to the editable (copy only) Excel file.
We are looking for an external consultant or a team of consultants which will bring
1. strong understanding and experience of ICT for Development and Mobile-based App development and taxation, thought leadership and diversity of knowledge approaches in Ghana and beyond
2. strong facilitation skills to enable multi-stakeholders’ group to define a joint digital platform for property taxation and a practical pathway to achieve it.
3. Strong analytical and digital advisory experience to enable Oxfam in Ghana to identify the required process for implementing the DPTI .
The consultancy will be distributed over 3 months with key moments as described above.
The consultant should have demonstrated skills and knowledge in the following areas:
- Strong understanding of property taxation and digital platforms and ability to bring experiences from both the public and private sectors
- Demonstrated experience and very strong facilitation skills both remotely and face to face for multi-stakeholders group located all around Ghana and ability to lead collaborative processes with a wide range of stakeholders
- Demonstrated experience in supporting/accompanying organizations on ICT4D issues and thought leader in tax issues in Ghana and beyond
- Strong ability to think creatively, strategically and pragmatically
- Demonstrated experience in designing and implementing knowledge and learning initiatives in an international development context
- Demonstrated ability to write and present clearly and concisely using diverse means of communication and proven track record in delivering timely high-quality reports
- Experience of working in Ghana and ideally established connections with tax administrators and private sector stakeholders
- Experience of working with and/or knowledge of Oxfam
Payment will be done in 3 installments
- 40% upon submission of the final proposal and signing of agreement
- 30% upon submission of co-creation workshop report and visual presentation
- 30% balance on acceptance of final product
Expression of interest
Oxfam invites the submission of an EOI from an organization or individual with the experience and skills described above. The EOI must include:
a) A cover letter of no more than 1 page introducing the consultant/organisation and how the skills and competencies described above are met, with concrete examples (Organisation profile outlining similar experience including type of task, employer, project title, location, achieved outputs). The cover letter should also reflect the number of days to complete the assignment and total financial offer (cost). The cover letter should also indicate consultants’ availability for the proposed period.
b) An outline of no more than 5 pages of the proposed process and key considerations including:
a. Key considerations for the assignment
b. Proposed outline methodology and approach
c. Proposed timeframe and team size
d. Detailed financial offer / costs with requested terms of payment. It is expected that the financial offer includes a primary budget breakdown of costs (for example fees, taxes...etc).
c) Team composition, management arrangements and CVs of team members including contactable
Your document should be structured as follows:
A: Executive Summary and Tender Declaration (Appendix) – setting out the key points of your Tender, confirming the scope for which you intend to bid, your Company’s unique selling points and summarising your offer to Oxfam and potential for achieving savings.
B: Introduction – some background information setting out your company’s history and experience within relevant sectors and how you feel these fits with Oxfam’s requirements.
C: Market Overview – what does the market look like currently? What changes do you anticipate? How might Oxfam’s supply profile change over the proposed life of the contract? Which areas might Oxfam review in order to get better value from the market?
D: Technical Response – [as required]
E. Solution Proposals – [as required]
F. Commercial, Pricing and Proposed Fee structure (refer to section on pricing for guidance).
G. Additional Services you offer and your evaluation of the benefit to Oxfam in taking such goods /services. Where pricing would be in addition to the fees proposed in section F, this should be clearly set out and priced in the Excel tab on a separate “optional services” tab.
Any additional information you provide will not form a part of the formal evaluation by Oxfam and is not part of the marking scheme. Hard copies are not required for such additional information and Oxfam reserves the right not to circulate anything which appears to be a standard sales brochure or similar documents.
By applying for this consultancy, you agree that you will comply fully with Data Protection Laws, and will provide Oxfam with reasonable assistance and co-operation to allow Oxfam to comply with all applicable requirements under the Data Protection Laws.
It is a condition of the award of the consultancy that all entities and personnel engaged in providing the services will be subject to pre-award screening to ensure compliance with our obligations under aid diversion, counter terrorism, safeguarding and money laundering “laws".
By when we are looking for consulting bids:
Close of application process by Friday 8th December 2019
Where to send your Expression of Interest
Please send your Expression of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that all the documents related to your Expression of Interest are sent as attachment to your email and that all files attached clearly mention the name of the applicant.
Enquiries/questions about the DPTI
If you have any questions related to the DPTI prior to submitting the EOI, please contact the project Manager: Dr. Alex Ampaabeng (email@example.com). Please DO NOT send your expression of interest to this email.
Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview.
On behalf of my organisation, I the Undersigned accept in full and without restriction the conditions governing this tender as the sole basis of this competition, whatever its conditions of sale may be, which are hereby waived. I declare that I am fully authorised by my organisation to submit a response to this tender and to enter into discussions with Oxfam for the provision of the services set out in the ToR.
I have examined carefully, understood and comply with all conditions, instructions, forms, provisions and specifications contained in this tender dossier. I am aware that failure to submit a tender containing all the information and documentation expressly required within the specified deadline may lead to the rejection of the tender at Oxfam’s discretion.
I hold no reservation in regard to the ToR and am aware that any reservation may result in the rejection of the tender by Oxfam.
I am not aware of any corruption practice in relation to this competition. Should such a situation arise, I shall immediately inform Oxfam in writing.
I declare that we are affected by no potential conflict of interest, and that my organisation and our staff have no particular link with any other bidders or parties involved with this competition. Should such a situation arise during the performance of the contract, we shall immediately inform Oxfam in writing.
By signing below, I hereby accept, on behalf of my organisation (and confirm that I am duly authorised to do so), Oxfam’s standard terms of payment, which are thirty (30) days after the end of the month of receipt by Oxfam of a duly authorised invoice or, if later, after acceptance of the goods or services being delivered to Oxfam.
Company Name and Address:
Company Representative Name: