Ghana could be losing at least 5 billion cedis annually to property owners, due to the lack of the collection of property rate.
This is the estimation of consumer rights group, CUTS Ghana.
The group maintains that tapping into the potential should bridge the perennial revenue collection deficit that faces the country.
The persistent issues of high cost of collection, absence of reliable database as well as fraud perpetrated by tax collectors have been cited as concerns impeding the collection of property rates in Ghana.
The issue has also impacted the internally generated revenue of district assemblies hence having a toll on the national budget.
The Country Director for CUTS Ghana, Appiah Adomako Kusi stressed the relevance of the property rate to Citi Business News.
“One area that we have been able to identify is property rates where we realize most assemblies are unable to collect because of varied reasons and our conservative estimates suggest that we can raise not less than 5 billion cedis annually from property rates.”
“This could also be used to finance projects at the district levels which will also by extension means tthta the overreliance on the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) or Accra for funding is going to be reduced,” he added.
For this year, government is seeking to raise an estimated 51 billion cedis in revenue.
As a result, the Finance Minister has outlined major policy initiatives aimed at achieving this target.
These largely include the enforcement of the excise tax stamp policy, introduction of Tax Amnesty as well as new laws to enforce compliance on tracking financial proceeds of businesses operating in Ghana and elsewhere across the globe.
The ultimate aim is also to achieve what the government describes as Ghana Beyond Aid which will reduce the over dependency on donor support for major infrastructural developments.
Mr. Adomako Kusi believes this is also possible if the government through the Ministry of Finance enforces property rate collection.
This will also mean Ghana will improve its tax to GDP appreciably.
“Largely, Ghana as a country has not been able to do well when it comes to revenue mobilization. Our tax to GDP ratio is less than 17 percent; when you compare that to OECD countries, it averages around 43 percent that means that if we want to develop, then we should be able to raise taxes locally.”