GOV’T AGENCY CONDEMNS BAWUMIA


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Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia


Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has courted the disapproval of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) over his most recent attempt to hog the public’s attention with a policy proposal.
After weeks of failed attempts with policy proposals, the Vice President last week tossed out a promise to remove another policy he supervised as head of Ghana’s delegation to negotiate as pre-conditions for the existing IMF bailout through revenue generation.
He had earlier attempted to distance himself from some policies of his own Government because the projected 2024 Presidential Election winner and NDC Candidate, John Dramani Mahama, made similar promises which attracted public approval.
Following an earlier Mahama pledge to work with a maximum of 60 ministers, Bawumia promised to reduce the number of ministers of state by 10 with a counter-proposal of 50, only for the independent Movement For Change’s Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen to also reduce Bawumia’s by 10 to propose 40 ministers.
Without traction on the promises made, the Veep last week Wednesday, 20th March, stepped up the promises roadtrip at a meeting with the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry with a flat tax rate proposal.
As part of the proposal, he openly criticized policies that he flaunted under his leadership as Head of the Economic Management Team and self-confessed brain behind the economic policies of the administration.
He told the Chamber that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was harassing them as taxpayers and businesses in the name of tax collection.
The Vice President, who has admitted being assigned as head of policy formulation for Government, said GRA’s harassments were because of two things.
He blamed a narrow tax system that often burdens the same businesses and taxpayers, and the GRA’s over-ambitious and unattainable revenue projections as the cause of excessive taxation under the Akufo-Addo Government .
“They are harassing businesses. That harassment is coming from the sort of targets that are created at their office. They are setting unrealistic targets. And this is because the tax base is so narrow you say to them, this is your target for this month, and they are trying to figure out where do I go.
“Then for them, it is very easy, you go back to where you had it the last time. You go to taxpayers, the people who are already paying taxes and then you have to come up with a new reason why they should pay more and so you come up with all sorts of stuff”, Bawumia said.
Unfortunately for the Veep, the blowing wind of change has emboldened staff of the GRA to hit back, subtly labeling him as engaging in double-speak in his claims.
In a press statement issued weekend Friday, 24th March, 2024 the GRA advised the Vice President to desists from sowing seeds of discord and industrial disharmony in revenue generation.
“We would like to state unequivocally that, we the workers of GRA find this statement unfortunate and consider it as an attack on the efforts of the hardworking staff of the Authority which if not discontinued, would incur the displeasure of workers, disrupt revenue collection efforts and breed industrial disharmony,” the Union said.
The GRA also accused Bawumia of deliberately playing the ostrich and said it is unfair for the Vice President to suggest that the GRA itself gives unrealistic targets to businesses when the Government assigns annual targets of revenue collection for the revenue agency.
“Indeed, the least we expect from the Vice President, if he would not appreciate the efforts of the Authority in raising Tax Revenue, is not to put the lives of our hardworking staff at risk with such unfortunate comments.”
Just like how the E-Levy that the Veep led Government to negotiate with the IMF, the GRA Union said it was the same revenue targets and achievements that the Bawumia criticized that has kept the IMF bailout programme of the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia administration ongoing.
” We wish to place on record that the unprecedented growth in Tax revenue collected in 2023 which yielded in excess of GH₵113bn is a major factor that has kept Ghana in the IMF bailout program. It is also an undeniable fact that the GRA has since the 2020 fiscal year met and in some cases exceeded the annual revenue targets despite the challenges of COVID-19.”


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