Confusion at GRA over 2019 Revenue target as staff demand explanation on bonus payment.
It has emerged that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) did not meet its tax revenue target for the year 2019 as claimed by Board Chairman Prof. Stephen Adei.
The GRA Board Chairman had stated in an interview on Accra based Joy FM in December 2019 that the state revenue mobilising agency had exceeded its target for the year, a claim that was widely publicized and celebrated by the Authority.
“The target, in general, was about GHS46 billion but you know the government changed the benchmark rate at the port, so, it was revised a little over GHS43 billion, which we have slightly exceeded,” Prof. Adei said.
He added that: “It will interest you to note that in December 2019, we more than met our target in revenue collection; actually, I’m having a board meeting because every day, they have to calibrate. The last time it was about GHS5.6 billion while we were looking for GHS5.0 billion, so, thank God.”
But in a memo signed by the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority to its Workers Union over the rate for payment of 2019 bonus, the Acting Commissioner General REV. AMMISHADDAI OWUSU-AMOAH wrote “The World Over, bonuses are paid on profits and/or the achievement of targets. Since the original target set by the Ministry of Finance was not achieved, staff cannot make claim for 15% of annual basic salary. The Board in consideration of what was achieved therefore allocated 10% as bonus”.
Not satisfied with the reason given by the top management of the Ghana Revenue Authority for not accepting a 15% bonus pay, the Ghana Revenue Authority Workers Union threatened to expose management over what they have suggested is management’s insincerity in the announcement of meeting their 2019 revenue target.
According to a written response signed by leadership of the aggrieved staff, it was unacceptable for management to deny them their due citing failure to meet revenue target as a reason.
“How can the Board Chairman with your support, tell the whole world that GRA has met its 2019 annual target, supported this claim with empirical figures and facts, received all the commendations thereafter, had a Thanksgiving service to honor God both in Accra and Kumasi and only for a few months later (because of 15% bonus payment to staff) suggest to mean otherwise? Can GRA go back to the media and tell the whole world that it lied on the issue of achieving the 2019 annual target?”
The letter stated further that “Sir, let us not betray the trust, goodwill, respect and above all integrity and reputation of the Authority because of bonus payment to staff.”
It would be recalled that the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central constituency Isaac Adongo had asserted that the Ghana Revenue Authority did not meet its revenue target as claimed by the Board Chairman.
Mr Adongo at a public lecture on the state of the economy held at the KAMA conference in Labone on 25th February 2020 said “We are all aware that since 2017, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has failed to meet its targets when it comes to revenue mobilisation. Last year was not different. However, to hide that string of incompetence, the NPP in their typical nature, resorted to naked misinformation to create the impression that they met and even exceeded the target set for the Ghana Revenue Authority in the 2019 fiscal year. For the avoidance of doubt, let emphasis that the government’s own data confirm that the GRA missed its revenue targets. Therefore, reports that the GRA exceeded its 2019 targets are lies; lies that are synonymous with what the management of public finances has been reduced to under this administration.”
The minority Member of Parliament further argued that “From the table, which is sourced from the 2019 fiscal data released by the Ministry of Finance on January 20, this year, it shows that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government missed all the targets for the total revenue and grants, domestic revenue and Tax Revenue. Let me concentrate just on domestic revenue and tax revenue, which are the purview of the GRA and for which there was a thanksgiving service in church to celebrate a success, one that has now been proven to be a falsehood.”