Ghana Shakes Up Tax Agency After Revenue Misses Forecast

(Bloomberg) -- Ghana replaced senior executives at its revenue agency and will rotate over one thousand staff in a bid to improve collections which are perennially below target and weigh on the country’s budget deficit.

The Ghana Revenue Authority missed its collection forecast by 9.7% in the first quarter, according to data released Monday on the website of the Finance Ministry. The fiscal deficit was 1.6% of gross domestic product for the period, against a targeted 1.4%, it said. The West African nation has fallen short of its budgeted revenue by 3.5 billion cedi ($656.4 million) over the past three years, with collections averaging only 13% of GDP, compared with 20% by its West African peers, it said.

The authority appointed new acting commissioners for domestic revenue, customs and support services while rotating the roles of 1,418 staff members, the ministry said in a separate statement on Sunday. The changes are necessary to make the agency “a much better performing institution,” it said.

Read more: Ghana central bank urges government to improve income collection

The International Monetary Fund cautioned Ghana in January that the economy remains at high risk of debt distress unless the government can improve domestic revenue mobilization. The country exited a four-year extended credit-facility arrangement with the Washington-based lender in April.

Interest payments of 3.8 billion cedis accounted for 24% of total expenditure in the first quarter, more than double the 1.7 billion cedis for capital expenses.

The new appointees at the revenue authority include Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah as acting commissioner for domestic tax revenue, Kwadwo Damoah as acting commissioner for the customs division and Julie Essiam as acting commissioner for support services, according to the ministry’s statement.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.