Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has recommended national awards for three Ghanaian Fintechs, Hubtel, Expresspay and IT Consortium for designing and managing the Ghana.gov platform to stop revenue leakage in state institutions.
He was speaking at the launch of the platform at the Jubilee House in Accra.
Ken Ofori-Atta, who described himself as the happiest man in the room during the launch, said “if I had any power I am sure the Order of the Volta will be conferred on each of them.”
Ghana.gov is single point online channel through which the public can access all government services at the various MMDAs and make payments digitally without any human intervention.
The platform can be accessed on laptops, smartphones/tablets, desktop computers and via short code *222# on feature phones.
It was designed by Hubtel, Expresspay and IT Consortium and it has so far proven to be the most efficient service delivery and revenue collection platform the state has ever built, given the several challenges with previous interventions.
For the first 12 months of piloting Ghana.gov, data available from digitization of the revenue collection process already indicates that the platform have processed more 5.8 million transactions settling over GHS 20.4 billion as at 4pm of the 13th of July 2021.
All these funds were settled directly and timely into the relevant public fund accounts with full visibility and without any administrative delays as compared to previous arrangements that took several months to achieve same.
So far, some 624,000 persons have registered to pay for about 37 government services including various direct taxes, indirect taxes, levies, royalties, and stamp duties to the accounts of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Users of the platform can also pay for services from Passport Office, Lands Commission, Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Public Procurement Authority, Registrar General’s Department, Ghana National Service Scheme, Births and Deaths Registry and others.
The Finance Minister is full of hope that the trend shows that Ghana.gov will seal the leakage in the government revenue collection and ensure the needed locally generated revenue for national development.
He noted that COVID-19 has negatively impacted foreign direct investment so the way to go for every country is to develop very robust internal revenue collection systems and technology is key to that process, hence the importance of Ghana.gov.
Ken Ofori-Atta, for instance, stated that currently 80% of government’s tax revenue comes from the Greater-Accra region, other big regions like Ashanti Region account for only 7%, Western Region – 8% and Eastern Region – 6%.
He believes Ghana.gov will correct that anomaly, urging Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to make full use of the platform to ensure that business in the Eastern, Ashanti and Western regions met their tax obligations fully.
The Minister also noted that the national ID registration ha captured over 22,000 professionals in Ghana who do not pay their professional taxes and plans are afoot to ensure that they do so regularly.
Minister of Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said when the three local Fintechs were selected for the project, the decision faced some amount of opposition both internally and externally, but the result of their work has vindicated the decisionmakers.
She is confident government can now see its revenue flow at all MMDAs in real time, adding that the various state agencies like the Data Protection Commission and National Cybersecurity Center have put measures in place to protect the data of persons on the platform.
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia who launched the platform said he believes Ghana.gov will stem corruption to a large extent and improve government revenue by about GHS3 billion a month.
“Ghana.gov will chase out all the demons and principalities in the public sector and safeguard government revenue – in fact the gains so far even shows it is chasing them out already,” he said.
He gave the example of hour piloting the platform on revenue collection in the tourism sector saw a four-fold revenue gain at some of the state’s tourist sites, adding that the system is kicking our middlemen and human interventions that often facilitate corruption and embezzlement.