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GRA Posts Positive Performance

George Blankson
The Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Agency (GRA) has posted a positive picture for the performance of the integrated revenue collection body for the year ended 2014.

In a speech he read during a press soiree last Friday at the Alisa Hotel in Accra, Mr George Blankson said that 'we believe that GRA will make giant strides in 2015 with the cooperation and assistance of stakeholders, particularly taxpayers, staff and the media and also through modernisation of its processes and procedures.'

With a set target of GH¢17.61 billion to be collected for 2014, he announced the GRA was able to garner GH¢17.07 billion.

Domestic Direct Tax was set at GH¢ 8.08 billion but GH¢7.61 billion was collected while GH¢2.52 billion was expected from Domestic Indirect Tax but 2.61 billion was realised.

The Customs Division was tasked to collect GH¢7.01 billion but realised GH¢6.86 billion.

According to him, 'the 3 percent short fall in GRA's revenue collection which is below the 5 percent error margin means that for all practical purposes, the revenue target could be deemed to have been achieved', pointing out that 'in temporal comparative terms, the 2014 revenue collection is a huge jump.'

The GRA, Mr Blankson said, registered a growth rate of 29.7 percent in revenue collection over that of 2013, which he added 'is indeed a significant increase compared with revenue collected in 2013 of GH¢13.16 billion representing only 18.5% over that of 2012.'

For 2015 GRA has been given a target of GH¢21.98 billion, whose breakdown is GH¢8.95 billion for Domestic Direct Tax, GH¢5.10 billion Domestic Indirect Tax and GH¢7.92 billion for Customs collection.

The fairly impressive performance of GRA for 2014, according to him, was achieve in the face of several challenges including the energy crisis which affected output, productivity and profit levels of business enterprises.

The foreign exchange fluctuations, he said, also had a limiting effect on imports and resulted in foreign exchange losses for businesses.

The fall in the prices of minerals on the world market also led to lower incomes and profits and staff layoffs in the mining sector, he added.

He did not leave out the deferment of the implementation of the controversial VAT on fee-based financial services whose expected revenue, he added, did not materialise.

He announced that the GRA has agreed with the Ghana Association of Bankers and written to the banks to begin the implementation effective January 5, 2015 of the VAT on fee-based financial services.

Mr George Blankson is the Commissioner-General for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).  He is a Tax Reform Consultant/Tax Administrator and Economist with specialisation in revenue modernisation, VAT administration, design and implementation of tax procedures as well as economic analysis and revenue forecasting.

Until his appointment as the Commissioner-General, Mr Blankson worked for Crown Agents as a Lead Consultant/ Manager to the DFID support to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) project, Sierra Leone.

By A.R. Gomda

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