Date: May 30, 2011, 5:14 pm


REVIEW PETROLEUM AND MINING CONTRACTS - TJN


If for nothing at all, Ghana must emulate the examples of Tanzania, Zambia and other countries worldwide which have reviewed all mining and petroleum contracts irrespective of the status of  stability clauses, according to the Tax Justice Network Ghana. 

It is also the opinion of the Network that government needs to strengthen the capacity of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to monitor and collect all resource rents, particularly petroleum and mining revenues.

These were contained in a communiqué adopted at a Strategic Planning Session of the Tax Justice Network Ghana held last week in Kumasi. The session, which was attended by representatives of civil society organizations and their partners, was coordinated by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC).

Indeed, the Network’s call for the strengthening of the GRA comes almost immediately after revelations that Ghana could be losing unspecified sums of oil revenue as a result of non-functional oil export meters fitted on the Floating, Production, Storage and Off-loading (FPSO) vessel at the Jubilee Fields.

In recent times, government has attempted to rationalize revenue agencies and initiate tax reforms as was spelt out in the 2011 Budget. In the light of this, the communiqué applauded government, recognising that such reforms are important for the sustainable financing of Ghana’s development with greater citizens’ responsibility and representation.

It, however, argued that Ghana’s tax system focuses more on indirect tax systems which are regressive in nature. Besides, the absence of a long-term national development strategy with broad consensus on spending priorities will continue to encourage wrong investment decisions and mismanagement of tax revenues, culminating in serious negative implications for the economy.

In order for proposed reforms to meet the aspirations of Ghanaians, there was the need for principles of transparency, accountability and the democratic participation of citizens in decisions and choices that are made in respect of national policies.

The Network observed that democratic governance is undermined when a state relies unduly on donor support and pointed out Ghana’s high potential to increase its domestic revenue with a little more effort.

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