The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has officially commenced work on its ultra-modern two-story building Information Technology Training Centre at Tema being financed by KFW German Bank for Development.
The construction which had already begun is expected to be completed and operationalized in November 2022.
Mr Augustine Sefa, GRA Deputy Commissioner, Operations said the funding from KFW was in two parts made up of 3.5 million Euro loans and 1.5 million Euro grants.
Mr Sefa said the project started with the signing of both loans and contract agreements between the Government of Ghana and the German Government.
He added there are three components of the project: the physical structure which involves the construction of the facility and equipping it with the needed logistics.
The second component would cover operational issues such as curriculum and module, a training management system and needed equipment; and the third component was the e-learning feature which would ensure that staff across the country could access training from their various locations and at their own pace without having to travel to the centre.
The Reverend Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah, GRA Commissioner-General in a speech read on his behalf by Ms Valerie Ennison, Deputy Commissioner, Transformation Office noted that GRA digital strategy fully aligns with the sentiments of accessing transactional data, automation of highly standardized tax activities, taxpayer communication, and optimization of debt management processes.
Rev. Amoah said the process of digitalization and modernization of tax administration must always be carried out with consideration of its basic strategic objective, which he noted was to raise the levels of voluntary compliance by taxpayers.
This he said could be done by making procedures easier for those who wish to comply to do so while carrying out a radical fight against fraud.
He added that it was in that respect that GRA launched the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) which according to him had brought a significant increase in Customs revenue since its implementation.
He said the Authority among others was poised to deploy systems to enhance tax administration of electronic services in Ghana such as web-hosting, online shopping, among others in addition to the rent tax system.
He indicated that it was evident that GRA's digital transformation would require specific skills ranging from programming, analytics, configuration, and testing and system integration.
The IT training centre, he said when completed would also provide GRA with the pipeline of talent to provide continuous support for the Authority's systems including implementation of inevitable change requests that were often raised after a system had been implemented.
Mr Daniel Krull, German Ambassador to Ghana on his part commended the government for its transformation agenda which included the digital drive to make GRA a top government institution.
Mr Krull added that it was a world knowledge that nobody likes paying taxes therefore the resolve of the German government to help Ghana through GRA to collect more revenue as that was the bedrock of providing the country with the needed developmental project.
He expressed the hope that the centre would serve as a motivation for staff to put in more effort to efficiently and effectively collect the needed tax.
Ms Rosemary Orthner, a member of Orthner & Orthner & Associates, architects for the project said the centre was carefully designed to serve its purposes while taking into consideration Ghana's climate and environmental issues.