Although Kumasi in the Ashanti Region has about two million residents who engage in income-earning activities, only 47,000 of them pay direct taxes to the state.
This was disclosed by a Deputy Minister of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen at Citi FM’s Economic Outlook programme held at the University of Ghana on Thursday.
“There’re a lot of expectations we [Ghanaians] have for government; yet we are not paying income taxes. We did an analysis at the GRA [Ghana Revenue Authority] in Kumasi whereby there are 47,000 personal income tax payers. There must be some 2 million registered voters meaning that these people are registered to vote but they are not paying taxes.”
“We just found this data and we discussed it two weeks ago. So it must be fairly recent. It’s unbelievable. The whole of Kumasi, there are only 47,000 tax payers. When I heard the number I was blown away,” he stated. Only 1.5m Ghanaians pay tax.
Data from the Ghana Revenue Authority suggests that only about 1.2 million people are active direct tax payers.
GRA is currently on a massive drive to get more people to pay direct taxes.
Pay your taxes
Adu Boahen at the Economic Outlook complained that although government is willing to transform the country, only a few people pay direct taxes.
He hinted that such a situation could adversely affect government’s laudable initiatives such as the free Senior High School programme.
The Deputy Minister further urged Ghanaians to pay the taxes to enable government execute its mandate.
“It makes you realize that we are not carrying our fair share as a people. I think we need to create this sense of awareness and responsibility as a people that we also have to play a role if we all want this to work. We all have a role to play. It takes more to keep the lights on, to keep the roads tarred, to provide you all these services, the free SHS, the healthcare and services among others. Collectively as a people, we all have a part to play,” the Deputy Minister added.
About the Economic Outlook
The Economic Outlook forum was part of events lined up to mark the Citi Business Festival.
The event was on the theme “Assessing Ghana’s Economy under the IMF Programme.”
Former Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, CEO of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), Nana Osei Bonsu, Head of the Economics Department at the University of Ghana, Prof. Peter Quartey, and a representative from the Trades Union Congress were part of the panelists at the forum.