The former Director General of the Ghana Maritime Authority, Kwame Owusu, has been appointed as the Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
A letter addressed to Mr. Owusu and signed by Nana Bediatuo Asante, Secretary to the President, said: “Pursuant to section 4 (1) (a) of the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791) the President of the Republic, in consultation with the Council of State, has appointed you as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Ghana Revenue Authority.”
The letter, dated June 18, 2019, directed the former Maritime Authority chief to indicate his acceptance or otherwise of the appointment within 14 days of receipt of the letter.
Mr. Owusu’s appointment comes on the back of several reforms at the country’s revenue collector to boost domestic revenue mobilisation.
Over the past two years, poor performance of domestic revenue has led to government having to cut its expenditure to keep fiscal consolidation on track.
Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told government domestic revenue mobilization should remain a key priority to create fiscal space and reduce public debt; adding that government should continue efforts at implementing tax policy measures, especially tax exemptions and tax compliance measures.
Last month, the Ministry of Finance announced changes at the top management level of GRA as part of ongoing reforms to improve the performance of the tax collecting institution.
Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah has been appointed the Acting Commissioner for Domestic Tax Revenue Division; Colonel Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), Acting Commissioner, Customs Division and Ms Julie Essiam, Acting Commissioner, Support Services Division.
A statement issued by the Ministry said about 1,418 employees were being rotated to other areas of the organisation as part of the exercise.
The former Maritime Authority’s boss major assignment will be to oversee an improvement in domestic revenue mobilisation.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta had indicated that a number of tax reforms, notably the review of tax exemptions regime which costs as much as 1.65 of GDP, are to be expected in the upcoming mid-year budget review.
Thus, Mr. Owusu’s task will be to oversee the successful execution of these measures to rake in the needed revenue for government to execute its budget.
Boosting domestic revenue is key to creating the much-needed fiscal space for government as three statutory items: interest payments on loans, wages and salaries and statutory transfers alone, consume all revenue collected.
Mr. Owusu, who had to leave his post at the Ghana Maritime Authority when he was caught up in a number of scandals, will have to prove critics wrong that he is the best person for the position by delivering on an increase in domestic revenue.
Mr. Owusu resigned in February 2019, barely four months after being accused of superintending over questionable expenditure at the authority, including spending a million cedis to renovate his official residence.