Mr James Anaman, a Retired Staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority has described taxes as the life blood of any economy aspiring for greater heights.
He said, weaning Ghana from international Aids could only become a reality when individuals’ and companies took up this civic responsibility seriously in building a brighter future for the country.
Mr Anaman said even the Bible acknowledged the payment of taxes just as the supreme laws of the Land, “In view of this constitutional and Biblical references made, it is my view that it’s both a civic and religious duty for eligible persons to file their tax returns”.
He was speaking at the Regional Launch of the Tax and Governance Week to encourage the filing of tax returns and create awareness among Ghanaians of the obligations on every Ghanaian to pay the fair share of the much needed taxes.
Mr Anaman said this policy must be attitudinally embedded in the sub-consciousness as nationals to enhance the much needed revenue for the quality of living standards anticipated as citizens.
He said the launch must not become a nine-day wonder but, “The significance of today’s programme will be measured by its sustenance and outcome, I wish the theme becomes a daily clarion call on all eligible persons to file and pay their taxes”.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie Regional Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf said revenue mobilisation in the country had not kept pace with the growing demands of citizens for development projects and better services from government.
He said, “Revenues have not been able to keep up with these demands, thus, creating a deficit which has to be bridged through government borrowing or through donor support …Ghana currently enjoys few concessional loans and support from development partners too keeps dwindling…it behoves on all and sundry to contribute their quota to raise revenue for the development of the country”, he added.
He said the government had declared a tax amnesty to enable taxpayers register, file returns and make any outstanding payments for previous years without imposition of interest and penalties or prosecution.
Mr Peter Ben Baah, Assistant Commissioner, Small Tax Office said filing of tax returns was a civic responsibility that no individual should shirk.
He said “As an authority, we cannot continue to force taxpayers, I pray that the level of voluntary compliance would grow in line with best practices in the developed world, we expect taxpayers to voluntarily honour their tax obligations without any compulsion.