The Tax Justice Coalition (TJC) Ghana has urged the Government to intensify its efforts at mobilizing domestic revenues to help shore-up financial gap created as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This, the association said, should include the reinstatement of some scraped taxes, such as the ‘nuisance taxes’, taxing of the expanding digital economy and property taxation, enforce laws on rent tax and capital gains tax, as well as raise the corporate and marginal tax rates to at least 30 percent.
A statement issued and signed by Mr Bernard Anaba, the Acting National Coordinator and copied to the Ghana News Agency said, Government must also tighten and enforce the tax laws with regards to benefits in kind for public servants, including accommodation, vehicle, driver and fuel usages, among others, which affected only a few well-off individuals in the country.
It also appealed to the Government to use more digital technology in tax administration to curtail unwarranted tax concessions, exemptions, and waivers which had often been a drain on the country’s tax revenues, adding that with the pandemic affecting Government revenues, it must be more stringent in curtailing many of these unwarranted giveaways.
“The TJC-Ghana commends the government’s recent Digital Downstream Petroleum Products Measurement Project and encourages it to tackle more vigorously, corrupt officials and snub politicians who interfere with tax administration,” the statement said.
It added that the recent Government’s stimulus package had presented an opportunity to rope in more people and businesses who were showing up to register for the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), to benefit from the stimulus package.
“The Government should use the opportunity to follow up these potential taxpayers for expansion of the tax net,” it said.
On the Petroleum Holding Funds (PHFs), the association urged the Government to reverse its amendment action on the fund, to enable it to access the Ghana Stabilisation and Ghana Heritage Funds permanently.
Rather, it urged the Government to draw from the funds through a loan request to Parliament to be repaid.
“Efficiency in expenditures should be the guiding principle for the Government at this difficult time.
The TJC Ghana, therefore, calls for transparency and accountability and efficiency in how the COVID -19 funds are utilised,” the statement said.
It said the TJC Ghana further calls on the government to shun political expediency and adopt a realistic targeting strategy for the granting of support to the poor and vulnerable and only do it when it is necessary.
The statement said the pandemic provided an opportunity for the government to implement these suggestions without the political backlash that it would have otherwise generated.
The Coalition commended Government for its actions against reducing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's economy.