The National Revenue Authority (NRA) yesterday engaged Members of Parliament on tax issues.
The Authority explained Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Value Added Tax (VAT) which it wanted to institute in the country and also unravel the Authority’s modernization programme.
Mr G. Blankson, a senior NRA official, told parliament that the revenues currently administered by the NRA were Non Tax Revenue, Direct taxes and Indirect taxes.
But that, “the GST is a Replacement Tax which administers and consolidates Import Sales Tax, Domestic Sales Tax, Restaurant Tax, Message Tax, Entertainment Tax, Hotel, Accommodation Tax, and Professional Services Tax”.
Mr Blankson pointed out that GST was not an additional tax, but a replacement for some existing taxes.
He stated that the introduction of GST would not affect the liability to pay the other taxes apart from those to be consolidated as GST and non-tax revenue.
The senior NRA official revealed that the General Policy Goal of GST was enhanced revenue mobilization in an efficient, effective and sustainable way, which required a broad-based GST that ensures revenue responds positively to growth in all sectors of the economy?
He also noted that the tax was easy to comply with, easy to administer and capable of further development and that GST was a pure consumption tax that was neutral on production and investment.
Mr A. Akibo Betts, another senior officer at NRA, revealed to parliamentarians the main GST tax design milestone, the resources for GST implementation, legislation and personnel project plan.
Mr A.H Demby presented to Members of Parliament NRA’s modernization plan. He said this plan ccovered all actions taken by Customs Institutions to smooth and facilitate the flow of trade, minimize revenue leakage, enhance the security of the state.
Mr Demby stated that NRA decided to modernize because of the steady increases in trade volume in recent times, the inadequate capacity at Customs to cope with increasing demands and to keep in line with international best practices/standards
He said Customs modernization would require new legislations or amendments to existing Customs and Excise laws and Institutional changes that would involve the setting up of new units, the merging of some and the elimination of others.
The NRA Acting Commissioner General, M.S Bamba, revealed that DFID had given NRA 16.4 million Pounds, the highest they had given to any African institution.
He pointed out that NRA’s modernization drive would not only speed up processing of tax declarations and improve service delivery to the business community and other taxpayers but also remove direction from valuation and assessment of taxes and impart greater certainly and predictability to tax payments. By Mohamed Fofanah