The Volta Regional Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was on Tuesday overwhelmed by operators of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the Region seeking to register for Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).
The rush for the unique identification, a mandatory requirement for business transactions, was necessitated by the government’s release of a stimulus package to alleviate the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on SMEs.
The Ghana News Agency (GNA)’s visit to the office saw the working area overcrowded with people as some staff screened body temperatures and enforced handwashing at the entrance.
The crowd took over the streets to the Ho Court Complex, compelling GRA to fix a temporary tent outside its yard for the clients.
Mr Anthony Dekagbe, Head of the Ho Small Tax Office (STO) told GNA the Offices were working on weekends and holidays to keep up with the influx.
He expressed surprise at the increase in applicants, saying, “people who refused to register for fear of taxation are now overrunning our premises.”
Mr Dekagbe said prior to the release of the stimulus package, the Office was registering about 200 TIN applicants a week, but was now processing over 600, and had dedicated a workforce of over 20 to handle the demand.
He told GNA the TIN sector at the GRA national headquarters was monitoring the process, which was ongoing in all offices, and was providing the necessary support to ease the workload.
The STO Head said the GRA was also working with the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to take the registration process closer to SMEs in remote areas.
Mr Dekagbe said the “boost in TIN registrations would help Ghana a lot”, and noted that although the pandemic threatened most businesses, others, including producers and dealers in facemasks, sanitizers and other essentials were active, and were helping replenish government’s resource pool.
He appealed to business operators to observe safety protocols, and make use of cashless modes of business transactions.
“If the business is down today, it would be up tomorrow. Coronavirus is an unseen enemy and we must protect ourselves. The key thing is to make sure you are alive,” Mr Dekagbe stated.
Mary, a dressmaker in Ho told the GNA that she called at the premises of GRA as early as 0700 hours and hoping to get some support to "buy sewing materials."
Amos, also a tailor in Ho, who claimed he lost clients due to the pandemic was also planning on investing in the production of face masks from the stimulus package.
Meanwhile, long queues are formed at the GCB Bank in Ho by business owners who had gone through the registration processes and at the bank for their packages.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on May 19, 2020, launched a GH¢ 600 million stimulus package to support MSMEs under the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) Business Support Scheme (CAP BuSS) to provide relief to SMEs in both public and private sectors.