Founder and President of IMANI-Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has criticised the implementation process of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) policy, describing it as absurd and backward.
“You don’t generate TIN by filling forms and going to an interface with an individual and they give you some assigned number. It should be randomly generated then you can verify at the point of you needing a service,” he argues.
He cautioned the policy implementers, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), against going ahead with the current framework, stating doing so will become a de-motivator for the acquisition of the mandatory number.
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Kofi Nti, announced the introduction of the TIN earlier this year, revealing acquisition of the number will be tied to accessing public services like Drivers’ License, Passport, the opening of a bank account and even filing cases in courts.
However, Franklin Cudjoe states, “ it is not fit for purpose, there is no way you can generate enough revenue by erecting stumbling blocks in the way of people who wants to pay tax.”
The danger it poses, according to President of the think tank, is that there will be little money for the state because business owners might probably not want to come forward and go through the stress of acquiring the number and hence will not pay tax on time.
Mr Cudjoe adds that “all this business of ‘if you don’t have a TIN you can do business’, it is actually backward.“
There has also been a huge public outcry about the poor education about the new policy before its implementation.
He, therefore, wants the President to tell the GRA to immediately take steps to make it randomly generated.
“It is like when registering staff on the internet, you get unique codes, you don’t need human beings before you do that, but if you don’t put the proper code, you can’t go through to the next step.
“It is doable so let’s allow technology to work, let’s not make a fetish of technology, these are simple things to be done,” he said.
“I think the whole tax system should be relooked again,” he reiterates.
He continues: “If we have given the tax authority some optimal for which the country will need to develop, they will think out of the box and not keep to this cycle of churning out old-fashioned methods of generating taxes. This is very outmoded and they should change it now.”
Mr Cudjoe spoke at the 25th-anniversary launch of Graduate Students Association of Ghana, held at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.