GACC to sensitise public on DRM for efficiency in revenue utilization
The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition has held an inception meeting to kick-start an Oxfam Ghana funded project titled: “Citizens Action for Improved Domestic Revenue Mobilization (DRM) for Pro-Poor Spending and Efficiency in Revenue Utilization”.
The project is aimed at empowering civil society, especially women and youth groups to actively advocate for progressive taxation and pro-poor spending in dialogue with government and private sector, aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana.
The inception meeting brought together stakeholders from the public sector and civil society to discuss the general approach of the project and as well as harness their support for the project implementation.
Prior to this project, GACC had worked with Oxfam to launch an index on the fiscal transparency promises of the ruling government during the 2016 elections.
It is the argument of GACC that the weaknesses in tax administration have continued to allow potential taxpayers both big and small to evade and/or avoid tax, hence, depriving the state of much-needed revenues to finance development.
Apart from tax avoidance and evasion, tax revenue is often lost through acts of corruption such as deliberate tax maladministration, and low or non-collection of required taxes, which is fuelled by corruption.
The problem is that the effects of being unable to finance development and provide public social services tell most on women and children – who are often the beneficiaries of such development interventions and social services – and other vulnerable persons. In light of its vision of a corruption-free Ghana, GACC proposes to undertake this activity not only to help improve Domestic Revenue Mobilization but also ensure efficient and pro-poor spending.
The persistent inability of a significant proportion of the Ghanaian population – with the poverty level now at 21.4% – to access their basic needs is largely attributed to the inability to mobilise adequate revenues and the poor management of limited revenues and sources of income mobilized by the country.
Inefficiencies in revenue mobilization and redistribution of public resources have been the bane of Public Financial Management (PFM) in Ghana.
In addition to the loss of tax revenues through tax evasion and tax avoidance, a lot more revenues are lost through deliberate acts of corruption and tax maladministration.
There are other problems such as low rates applied to direct taxes, administrative challenges (because we are largely a cash-based economy) and companies not paying the right amount of taxes due to tax exemptions, deductions and incentives as well as the large informal sector population that goes largely untaxed on their incomes.
It is based on these findings that GACC embarks on this initiative.
The project’s overall goal is to ensure an empowered civil society, especially women and youth groups, actively advocating progressive taxation and pro-poor spending in dialogue with government and private sector, aimed at reducing poverty and inequality in Ghana.
GACC is expected to revamp up its efforts on this by transitioning this initiative into an online platform with a wider public reach.
Further, commitments on natural resource management, particularly on mineral revenue management, would be introduced to the index.
The aim is to leverage current campaigns for a comprehensive mineral revenue management law similar to Ghana’s petroleum revenue management laws.
The coalition as part of its gender consideration policy will target women and youth groups as they will be most positively impacted by improved revenue mobilization but could also be negatively impacted by unjust tax policies and corruption in tax administration.
As such, women and youth groups will be mobilized for domestic revenue mobilization in selected districts.
To make the grant implementation more inclusive, citizen groups and networks will be mandated to show evidence of women participation.
Women and women groups will be key to the citizen groups to be engaged for the activity. The voices of women will be heard in the advocacy messages as well. The overall aim is to ensure that women are a key part of, and benefit as much from the activity as any other set of beneficiaries, GACC indicated in a release.