GRA gets three new commissioners

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The Finance Ministry has announced the appointments of three persons to the top management of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

They are Mr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, acting Commissioner for Domestic Tax Revenue Division; Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), acting Commissioner, Customs Division; and Ms Julie Essiam, acting Commissioner, Support Services Division.

They are expected to drive a number of critical transformational changes at the authority, a statement issued by the Public Relations Department on Sunday, June 2, has said.

The new officers will thus replace Kwesi Gyimah Asante, Commissioner with Domestic tax Revenue Division; Isaac Crentsil, Commissioner with Customs Division; and Fred Charles Anson, Commissioner with Support Services Division, who have all been reassigned to the Finance Ministry.

A statement issued by the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Finance said changes at the top management level was in line with ongoing reforms by government at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to improve performance, consistent with the 2019 Budget (paragraph 288).

According to the ministry, about 1,418 employees are also being rotated to other areas of the organisation.

It said further changes would be made to retool GRA for the critical task of mobilising revenue to finance improvements in the lives of our people.

The statement explained that the reorganisation has been necessitated by three main factors.

“First, the institution has grown significantly over the years, and current revenues of approximately GH¢38 billion make it one of the biggest Institutions in Ghana. This has created the need for much stronger, world-class structures.

“Secondly, the number of employees of the GRA has increased significantly to about 7,000 and another 5,000 have been added through NABCO to shore up the authority’s revenue mobilisation capacity, bringing the total employees to 12,000. GRA is now one of the largest employers outside the Civil Service.

“Thirdly, there has been increasing need for better domestic revenue mobilisation in order to realise the Ghana beyond Aid agenda. With Ghana’s Revenue to GDP of 12.6%, below the West Africa average of 19.9%, there is the need to raise domestic revenue in a more efficient way in order to meet the country’s commitments. GRA revenues have failed to reach budget targets, and over the last three years there has been an accumulated gap of about GH¢3.5 billion,” it said.

Given all of the above factors, the Finance Ministry said it has become necessary to make changes to the management and organisational structure to make it a much better performing institution.

The Finance Ministry expects the changes to bring several improvements in the institution, and these includes bringing the best of private sector practices and combining that with public sector technical expertise to ensure that GRA is a better functioning institution. Additionally, these changes are expected to improve the overall level of professionalism and engender a customer-friendly mindset at GRA.

In line with expectations, the statement said the new team will be expected to drive a number of critical transformational changes.

Modernising and digitising tax processes and systems

According to the statement, modernising and digitising tax processes and systems would involve introducing big data and block chain technologies to improve compliance; expanding the tax base to encompass more effectively the informal sector and professional classes (currently there are over six million eligible taxpaying individuals; however, only about 2.5 million have been registered and only about 1.2 million are active direct taxpayers).

Developing a stronger culture of performance and accountability

The new leaders are also expected to enhance staff integrity and anti-corruption measures through increasing the quality of taxpayer services and respecting the client (taxpayer).

They are also to create a fair and firm tax organisation that ensures equitable treatment of every taxpayer; tackle revenue leakages across both Domestic Tax and Customs, as well as ensure that best practices are shared, to create a truly world-class organisation.

The Ministry of Finance thanked the current leadership team at GRA, who have brought the institution thus far, and wished the Commissioner-General and his new team success as they take the reins to lead GRA to the next level.

Source: Citi News