Consultants Needed For Fair Tax Monitor (FTM)
Other Jobs Information
Fair Tax Monitor (FTM)
- Background and Context
Ghana reached lower middle-income status in 2011 as classified by the World Bank, although many development indicators still reflect the status of a low-income country. In 2016, the total revenues and grants was 20% of GDP with Petroleum revenue accounting for 49% of the amount. Indeed, a key sector in Ghana’s economy is the extractives sector, which currently contributes 17.5% of total corporate tax earnings, 28.3% of government revenue as collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority (Domestic Tax Division) and about 6% of GDP.
Ghana has made some progress on fiscal consolidation in bringing the fiscal deficit down from 10.2% of GDP in 2014, 6.3% in 2015 to 4.5% in 2018, although this is only 0.5% shy of the ceiling for the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Ghana exited the IMF in April 2019 at the end of a bailout agreement it entered in 2015 for financial aid from the organisation. Prior to leaving the bailout, the IMF praised Ghana for its economic progress and expressed fiscal optimism indicating the country is on the road to economic progress.
However, this is at the backdrop of a rapidly increasing public debt – In a recent assessment, the IMF described Ghana as being at a ‘high risk of debt distress’.
The World Bank’s debt sustainability analysis (DSA) concludes that Ghana’s risks of external and overall debt distress continue to be high. While the rebased nominal GDP significantly improved the public debt to-GDP ratios (albeit remaining elevated), the ‘‘debt service ratios continue to breach their respective thresholds under the baseline, reflecting underlying vulnerabilities’’ (WB, 2019).
Ghana’s biggest challenge, economically, is its continuously poor domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) due primarily to large informal sector, weak tax administration and illicit financial flows.
At a Taxpayers’ Forum in 2016 supported by Oxfam, the Ghana Revenue Authority and other stakeholders disclosed rather disturbing data and information on the key challenges to tax administration in Ghana. For in instance, according to the GRA, the average tax expenditure for the period 2008 to 2015 is estimated to be 2.01% of GDP, specifically amounts of 1.68 percent, 1.82 percent and 1.98 percent from 2013-2015 respectively. This notwithstanding, the estimated amount lost to tax exemptions and concessions in 2014 amounted to GHS3.2 billion, higher than the outlay on primary education in 2014 (GHS3.03 billion).
Like for many other African countries, Illicit Financial Flows (IFF) is a major source of leakage of Ghana’s development resources. This is a result of transfer mis-pricing, tax evasion and avoidance as well the granting of what is termed “harmful tax incentives” mainly to multinationals.
A report produced by Africa Centre for Energy Policy’s (ACEP)  in 2015 showed that Ghana lost $14.39 billion in illicit financial flows in the extractive sector alone from 2002 to 2011 (10 year period thus averaging $1.44 billion a year) higher than the expensive Eurobond issues that Government of Ghana has been contracting in recent years.
Government responded to Oxfam and partners and other stakeholders campaign for reform of the country’s tax exemptions regime by laying before parliament a Tax Exemption Bill early 2019. This bill seems to have stalled following months of no action. The concern is that this bill will eventually ‘die’ as parliamentary stipulated time for debate elapses soon.
Although most taxes were abolished by the government two years ago, describing them as nuisance taxes (ref), controversially, government has introduced or increased very unpopular taxes – for example, the recently suspended Vehicle Luxury Levy, the abolition of the 35% tax rate on high income earners, the separation of the GETFUND and NHIL levies (2.5% each) from the previous VAT rate, and most recently the increase of 3% in communication service tax. These moves somehow depicts the ‘desperation’ by the government to meeting its development targets in an environment where DRM performance is constantly low. The continuous attention by the government on indirect taxation tend to have very serious consequences in the fight against inequality as these taxes tend to be inherently regressive, thereby affecting the marginalized the most.
- Rationale and Purpose of the FTM
Changing this situation takes a shift in the overall narrative of the tax system and the current proposals for tax reform. NGOs and social movements, together with progressive businesses and opinion makers have a central role in it, and Oxfam in Ghana is particularly important in this battle.
Oxfam in Ghana has been successfully setting the agenda regarding inequalities in Ghana, particularly among the media and opinion, mainly through some collaborative efforts with our partners.
Given the precarious DRM position, there is the urgent need to take a study that will focus on influencing tax policy reform in Ghana backed by evidence-based research, hence the need for the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM).
Through the Fair Tax Monitor report, we expect to dive deep into the tax and fiscal issues in a sense that we can create specific narratives and positions on them. We plan to use the substantial evidence-based data established through the Ghana Fair Tax Monitor (FTM) national report for the development of advocacy objectives – as well as a key to open more doors for more specific policy change, placing Oxfam in Ghana and partners at more influencing spaces.
The Fair Tax Monitor’s overall goal is to strengthen the advocacy activities at the local level. It provides an overview of national tax systems and identifies the main challenges they face. The tool provides reliable evidence for the advocacy work, which will strengthen Oxfam in Ghana and partners position in the fight against inequality with evidence from existing taxes policies and practices.
Furthermore, the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM) compares key elements of tax systems and thus complements the activities of Oxfam’s global Even it Up! campaign. The project’s focus is on tax policies and practices, and by deliberate choice it pays only limited attention to issues related to public expenditure.
The common research framework (CRF) will be used as a basis for the Term of Reference for the country level research. The research framework defines in more detail which information is required to be analysed in the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM) Country Reports. Through the use of the CRF, this will result in the Ghana report looking similar to those developed in the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM) focus countries with seven main analytical chapters following the stipulated guiding questions below.
Firstly, the report will give a brief description of the tax system. Secondly it will analyse the current tax system following the six clusters of topics listed, namely:
- distribution of the tax burden and progressivity
- revenue sufficiency
- tax exemptions
- effectiveness of the tax administration
- government spending
- transparency and accountability.
These clusters of topics were selected to best capture the complex character of tax systems in order to evaluate fairness of a tax system under review. With the project Working Group, it was defined that a fair tax system is as follows: (1) progressive and serves as a mechanism to redistribute income in a gender responsive way (2) allows to raise sufficient revenue to perform government functions and provide essential services, (3) refrains from and eliminates tax exemptions and incentives to the elite and (4) tackles causes of illicit capital flight and tax evasion by international companies and the wealthy. With this in the mind the analysis described below should be undertaken.
Following the development of the report, a meeting will then be held to share the findings with both policy makers and fellow civil society organisations.
Objectives of the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM)
- Provide a detailed picture of Ghana’s tax system and social expenditure based on the indicators listed in the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM)methodology.
- Inform evidence-based research that will influence the formulation of progressive tax policies
- Improve engagements with government based on empirical evidence and cutting-edge research pieces.
- Create a framework to compare tax systems of selected countries over time, as well as comparing Ghana’s performance in further studies against the 2019 report
- Contribute to the global-level advocacy on taxation through evidence-based tool showcasing relative fairness of selected tax systems
content of the FTM report
Following the methodology guidance present on the files developed for the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM), an Excel spreadsheet and a written report must be developed around the six thematic clusters to describe and evaluate the tax system and public expenditure of Ghana. Each cluster includes specific topics that contain quantitative and qualitative research questions.
Structure of the written report:
- The report should consist of an executive summary (1-2 page), a brief introduction (1 page), 2 pages per average for each topic (approximately 50 pages in total), and overall conclusions and policy recommendations (2-3 pages);
- For each topic, present the quantitative data (possibly through a graph or a chart and a table with collected data per indicator for the specified period) and provide a qualitative analysis focusing on the research questions and background information provided;
- After each cluster (excluding the first one – Brief description of the tax system), provide summary of conclusions and recommendations (1 page);
- The report should enable other researchers to easily reproduce and update the data for each indicator. The report should be no longer than 50 pages plus any annexes. All data must be collected in one currency (Ghanaian Cedis and translated into USD at the current rate- at the time of the study).
Target Audience and Stakeholders
The FTM targets policymakers, CSOs and all key stakeholders within the Ghana tax system.
It aims to offer an advocacy tool to CSOs working on fiscal justice in the country. In addition, the project intends to influence progressive taxation policy design in Ghana.
Expected outcomes & Approach(es)
The FTM is expected to enhance progressive taxation system design in Ghana by offering evidence-based advocacy tool to fiscal justice campaigners
In the long-term, the FTM initiative is expected to provide a basis for national conversation on progressive taxation in Ghana. Also, to serve as referencing point for issues around tax administration, particularly tax exemptions to promote efficiency (of tax administration) and enhance revenue performance.
To achieve this ambition, we have articulated 3 pathways:
- Phase 1: select a partner and consultant(s) to undertake a research into the clusters described under the methodology above
- Phase 2: Partner and consultant(s) to go through at least two days of training on the FTM methodology delivered by Oxfam in Ghana prior to undertaking the research.
- Phase 3: Partner and consultant(s) to engage with key stakeholders to collect, analyse and validate data/findings to design the FTM report and share final work with Oxfam in Ghana.
Scope of Work/ Purpose
The consultant will be expected to produce a high-level research work of findings around the core taxation pillars (described under methodology) of Ghana. The consultant will work closely with Ghana revenue Authority, the Ministry of Finance, especially the Tax Policy Unit and all key stakeholders of the Ghana tax system.
Schedule and Deliverables
To be completed by:
Signing of contract with this ToR, amended if needed (including period of training of consultant on FTM methodology)
Initial payment of 40% is to cover preliminary field work expenses including the conceptualization and testing of ideas
Finalized detailed work plan submitted to Oxfam with initial scoping done and tools developed and tested
Research development – First draft of research completed
Review Comments required from and due: Oxfam in Ghana and partners (including FTM team at Oxfam Novib)
Revisions by consultant/author:
Final draft due by:
Edits – Peer Review Team
Author accepts/rejects edits:
Final FTM report completed satisfactorily and cleared by Oxfam and review teams. Final payment of 30% processed and effected
Duration: The TOR is expected to be agreed and contract signed by November, and final product to be ready by February 2019.
The total budget available for this assignment is GHC92,480 equivalent of €16,000 (Oxfam existing budget rate). This budget will need to be split in the detail planning between the different tasks and deliverables as agreed with successful consultants.
We are looking for an external consultant or a team of consultants which will bring
- Experience in undertaking a high-level research work in the field of finance, accounting or taxation.
- Demonstrable thought leadership and diversity of knowledge approaches in Ghana and beyond
- Excellent presentation, oral and written communication skills
- Strong understanding of tax administration and tax law/policy in Ghana
- Advanced user in Microsoft Excel.
- Strong analytical and interpersonal skills; ability to interact and collaborate with key stakeholders
The consultancy will be distributed over 3months with key moments as described above.
The consultant should have demonstrated skills and knowledge in the following areas:
- Experience in writing high-level research work in finance, accounting, and/or taxation.
- Experience in Ghana Tax Laws and tax administration
- Demonstrated experience and very strong facilitation skills both remotely and face to face for multi-stakeholders group located all around Ghana and ability to lead collaborative processes with a wide range of stakeholders
- Strong ability to think creatively, strategically and pragmatically
- Demonstrated experience in designing and implementing knowledge and learning initiatives in an international development context
- Demonstrated ability to write and present clearly and concisely using diverse means of communication and proven track record in delivering timely high-quality reports.
- Advanced user of Microsoft packages, especially Excel.
- Experience of working in Ghana and ideally established connections with tax administrators, Ministry of finance and private sector stakeholders
- Experience of working with and/or knowledge of Oxfam
Payment will be done in 3 installments
- 40% upon submission of the final proposal and signing of agreement
- 30% upon submission of satisfactory draft report and visual presentation
- 30% balance on acceptance of final product
Expression of interest
Oxfam invites the submission of an EOI from an organization or individual with the experience and skills described above. The EOI must include:
a) A cover letter of no more than 1 page introducing the consultant/organisation and how the skills and competencies described above are met, with concrete examples (Organisation profile outlining similar experience including type of task, employer, project title, location, achieved outputs). The cover letter should also reflect the number of days to complete the assignment and total financial offer (cost). The cover letter should also indicate consultants’ availability for the proposed period.
b) An outline of no more than 5 pages of the proposed process and key considerations including:
a. Key considerations for the assignment
b. Proposed outline methodology and approach
c. Proposed timeframe and team size
d. Detailed financial offer / costs with requested terms of payment. It is expected that the financial offer includes a primary budget breakdown of costs (for example fees, taxes...etc).
c) Team composition, management arrangements and CVs of team members including contactable
By applying for this consultancy, you agree that you will comply fully with Data Protection Laws and will provide Oxfam with reasonable assistance and co-operation to allow Oxfam to comply with all applicable requirements under the Data Protection Laws.
It is a condition of the award of the consultancy that all entities and personnel engaged in providing the services will be subject to pre-award screening to ensure compliance with our obligations under aid diversion, counter terrorism, safeguarding and money laundering “laws".
By when we are looking for consulting bids:
Close of application process by Friday 18th December 2019
Where to send your Expression of Interest
Please send your Expression of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that all the documents related to your Expression of Interest are sent as attachment to your email and that all files attached clearly mention the name of the applicant.
Enquiries/questions about the FTM
If you have any questions related to the FTM prior to submitting the EOI, please contact the project Manager: Dr. Alex Ampaabeng (email@example.com). Please DO NOT send your expression of interest to this email.
Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview.
 World Bank (2019). Ghana - Joint World Bank-IMF Debt Sustainability Analysis. Accessed on 18th Oct 2019 from: https://bit.ly/33IODBW http://www.csplatformghana.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Tax-Forum-Communique.pdf