Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated that the newly launched single point of access to all government services and revenue collection, Ghana.gov would stem corruption to a large extent and increase revenue collection by an estimated GHS3 billion.
The Vice President was speaking at the launch of the Ghana.gov platform at the Jubilee House in Accra.
Ghana.gov is part of government’s vision to fully digitize the economy and modernize the way Government offer service, collects revenue and pays its bills.
It is designed to mainly cut out unnecessary bureaucracies and inefficiencies of the manual system that give way for huge corruption in public sector service delivery and revenue collection, particularly due to the scale of human intervention.
The platforms also allows private business and individuals to even file their tax returns and pay taxes digitally without any human intervention.
Dr. Bawumia estimates that between 10 to 15% of the government revenue is lost through inefficiencies, theft or other accounting schemes in the public sector.
But he is confident that with the introduction of Ghana.gov, will remove human intervention to a very large scale and therefore seal the revenue leakages and result in the growth of government revenue by some estimated GHS3 billion.
The Vice President gave an example of how the system was piloted at the Tourism Ministry and it led to a four-fold increase in revenue at some major tourist sites in the country, which was a clear indication of the massive revenue leakage due to human intervention.
In the words of the Vice President “Ghana.gov will chase the demons and principalities out of the public sector – it is already chasing them out and we are seeing some results.”
Dr. Bawumia acknowledged that the Ghana.gov platform would not have been possible without all the other necessary digital infrastructure such as the digital address system, national ID system, financial inclusion, tax identification numbers (TIN) and the digitization of the operations of state institutions.
He noted that currently the country can boast of some 15.5 million people captured on the National ID system, over 15 million with mobile money wallets via the mobile money interoperability platform, plus the existence of GHQR code to ensure financial inclusion and easy digital payments.
The Vice President also noted that government has succeeded in converting the national ID numbers into TIN numbers that has led to 86% of the adult population having TIN numbers, while several state institutions have also been digitalized and that gives way for Ghana.gov to succeed.
He was full of praise and gratitude for the three local Fintechs that designed Ghana.gov – Hubtel, Expresspay and IT Consortium and urged all state institutions to get connected to the platform immediately.
The Vice President also urged all Ghanaians to make it a practice to file their tax returns regularly through the Ghana.gov platform, saying “even if you have zero tax to pay, just file the returns and let us know – it is better than not filing at all.”
Gains so far
Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta noted that over the past 12 months, the some 624,000 persons have registered on the Ghana.gov platform and it has processed over 5.8 million transactions, worth some GHS20.4 billion during its pilot phase.
He noted that in the midst of COVID-19 when foreign direct investment is not forthcoming as expected, internally generated revenue has become the way to go for every country, and that underpins the importance of a platform like Ghana.gov for a country like Ghana.
The Minister urged the Ghana Revenue Authority to take advantage of the platform and other digital infrastructure like the Ghana Card numbers being turned into TIN numbers to trace all potential taxpayers and ensure that fulfilled their tax obligations.
He, for instance, noted that the national ID registered has captured over 22,000 professionals who do not pay their professional taxes and government has plans to ensure they start paying.
Ken Ofori-Atta noted that currently, 80% of government’s tax revenue come from Accra, whole Ashanti and Eastern regions account for only seven and six percent of taxes respectively.
He thinks the picture is not realistic and express the hope that the digital platform created would cause a drastic change in the trend for the better.
The Minister also lauded Hubtel, Expresspay and IT Consortium, saying “if I had my way I would give them national awards for the great service they have done the country.”
Minister for Communication and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said with the implementation of such a platform, data security is very important, and she assured Ghanaians that the Data Protection Commission and National Cybersecurity Center are working to ensure that no one’s date is compromised on the Ghana.gov platform.
“The Ministry is also assiduously working through the Data Protection Commission and National Cyber Security Centre to safeguard and secure every personal detail. User feedback is important and an integral part of the growth and efficiency of this platform, so we encourage everybody to take advantage of this intervention and make good use of it. It will in the short, medium and long term benefit all Ghanaians directly and indirectly,” Madam Owusu-Ekuful noted.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah urged all state institutions and the media to make it a point to promote the Ghana.gov platform and ensure wide and quick adoption and adaptation to it for the betterment of the country.