The media has been urged to inculcate in the minds of Ghanaians a kind of orientation that drives to the belief that payment of taxes is an obligation.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Joseph Osei-Owusu, who made the call, averred that people’s thoughts should be redirected towards the moral conviction that those who deliberately fail to honour their tax obligations are nation wreckers.
The call was contained in a keynote address he delivered at a two-day sensitization workshop in Prampram organized by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) on the theme, “Ensuring effective taxation system in Ghana.
Narratives about taxes in the media, he said, should show support for every Ghanaian who pays their tax contributions towards building the nation.
He noted that the only way to ensure those who earn taxable incomes in the country contribute their tax quota to the pool is to get everyone to register for the Tax Identification Number (TIN) that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has introduced.
According to him, any Ghanaian who does not get the TIN and who does not pay his/her taxes is a nation wrecker.
The Deputy Speaker argued that in the developed world people identified as not having honoured their tax obligations are shunned by society because they do not want the progress of the country.
He pointed out that discussing the TIN without linking it to development would make it more difficult for people to understand.
“You should make discussions on the TIN show that every Ghanaian who earns an income must contribute to the tax pool on which we build the nation,” he stated. “The media is useful in propagating the tax message for all Ghanaians to know and understand their responsibilities and pay the appropriate taxes on their incomes.”
He urged the media to let their loyalty and bias towards every Ghanaian honouring their tax obligations show in their presentations and lamented that sometimes reports and discussions on tax matters are presented with cynical twists and commentaries that denigrate the entire information and what it seeks to achieve.
“In your reports of all matters relating to taxes, show pointed bias towards everyone who pays their taxes,” he stated.
In remarks read on his behalf, the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, stressed that the media is a true partner in the job of revenue mobilization and in the development of the country.
“Without you it would be difficult to get our messages to our varied stakeholders. We therefore value our partnership with the media,” he said.
The GRA, he said, has undergone series of reforms and reviewed some laws while a lot of key provisions like the Tax Identification Number (TIN), Excise Tax Stamp and Paperless Clearance Procedure among others have been rolled out with the aim of widening the tax net to increase revenue mobilisation.
President of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC), Nana Birikorang Agyeman, in his welcome address, applauded the initiative by GRA to use the Tax Identification Number (TIN) to broaden the country’s tax net and widen the scope of people eligible to pay tax.
He averred that though broadening the tax net will enable government to generate more revenue, the GRA needs to intensify campaign in the media both electronic and print to create more awareness.
“Not long ago when it was announced that effective 1st April 2018, banks in the country, passport office, DVLA, the Registrar General’s Department among other offices will not transact business with any individual who does not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN), many people were confused and asked lots of questions.”
“These questions only go to suggest that the education and creating of awareness about the TIN is not enough,” he stated.
The media, he said, especially members of the Parliamentary Press Corps, would join the campaign to educate and inform the public on GRA’s taxation policies as long as the authority regularly provides reliable and accurate information.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org