May 31, 2013

The Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, a civil society organisation, on Wednesday requested Parliament to reject the re-introduction of stabilisation levy by government.

The centre said though it appreciated the difficulties of the economy, an re-introduction of the levy and increase in existing tax was inappropriate as it would impose further hardship on citizens.

Mr Andrew Awuni, Executive Director of the Centre, made the call at a press encounter to highlight the views of the group on recent developments on the economy and the national revenue base, in Accra.

He challenged the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to respond to the recommendations by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the 2011 Auditor General’s Report, to recover losses in the country’s revenue system before imposing additional levies.

“The Auditor General’s Reports (2009, 2010 and 2011) is loaded with stories of how some Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Controller and Accountants General’s Departments appear to have shirked their responsibilities and have literally thrown away millions of dollars belonging to the country,” he said.

Mr Awuni alleged that in the 2011 Auditor General’s report, there were stories about how poor treasury management resulted in the loss of over GH¢75 million in Bank charges alone.

“Also an amount of GH¢5.8 million of non-tax revenue, which was supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Fund, has since not been paid, what have we done about recovering all these monies”.

Mr Awuni said if government was committed to recovering the lost revenue as indicated in the report, there would be no need to put anymore burden on the public.

He called on government to strengthen the tax collection structure to capture details of businesses and the revenues generated, to widen the tax net.

Mr Awuni said taxes are rather paid to individuals than government, and asked “When revenue collectors go out and collect revenue from shopkeepers, salons, market women, do these monies really get to their destinations?”.

He explained that the Centre’s position was based on the works of the Auditor General and the PAC, adding that Parliament would weaken itself, and make their paper work irrelevant, should it approve of the proposed increase in tariffs.