A major boost was given to the Ghana government’s vision to automate all state institutions; with the distribution of 32 computers to 16 of the 33 selected Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies participating in Project TREE (Tax Revenue for Economic Enhancement).
The four-year TREE project which is being carried out in the Central, Western, and Ashanti Regions involves data collection on properties for effective billing. Following this will be the deployment of a new tax management software model to electronically bill property owners via text messages, in order for them to make e-payment of taxes and bills through e-wallet (mobile money) transfers.
The project is aimed at eliminating human contact in revenue payment, which is most often characterized by corrupt practices. The result is expected to boost the internal generation of funds by the Assemblies and ultimately bringing fiscal decentralization to their localities.
The project, also seeks to build the capacity of the revenue staff on the new tax management software, which when successful will be replicated in all MMDAs across the country.
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Mr. Bless Kwame Darkey, Coordinator of the TREE Project was optimistic that digitization of revenue collection would stimulate the performance of the MMDAs, while helping block leakages.
Explaining why the project is focusing on property rates, he revealed it was because of the huge tax gap in that area that needed to be bridged – in order to significantly step up internally generated funds to enable the Assemblies undertake development projects to enhance the economic wellbeing of the people.
Mr Philip Dornyo, who is the Communication Expert of the Project, said the model will focus on property rates, business operating permits and building permits and that it has a central monitoring point, which helps to detect and check all lapses on the field to eliminate fraudulent deals.
The TREE is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Fiscal Decentralisation Unit of the Finance Ministry and the Office of the Head of Local Government Service.