President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that from April 1, 2021, all National ID Card numbers will become Tax Identification Numbers.
This will increase the number of people registered by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for tax purposes from the current 3 million to 15.5 million.
Similarly, from the 2nd quarter of 2021, all National ID Card numbers will also become SSNIT numbers, increasing the number of people on the SSNIT database from 4 million to 15.5 million, and making it easier for new contributors to be enlisted on the scheme.
Delivering a Message on the State of the Nation on Tuesday in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo said the National ID numbers would also become NHIS numbers, indicating that “very soon, we will link the National ID to all SIM cards, bank accounts, Births and Deaths Registry, DVLA documents, and passports.”
“At the end of 2016, only 750,000 people had TIN numbers. The increase to 15.5 million in just four years is simply phenomenal,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo said the government’s effort at digitisation is gathering steam, stating that when his government assumed office in 2017, “we faced the challenge of a largely informal economy.”
The features of the informal economy the President explained, included the absence of unique identification for citizens and residents of Ghana and the absence of a working property address system across the country.
“Further, only a small proportion of our population was registered by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) with Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) and by SSNIT for social security. Seventy percent of the adult population did not have access to bank accounts, financial transactions were dominated by cash and the processes of service delivery in most MMDAs were largely manual and highly bureaucratic.”
President Akufo-Addo said it was in that context that “we set about the process of formalising our informal economy through digitisation.”
“Mr. Speaker, after four years in office, I am happy to state that there has been more progress in formalising the economy than there was in the previous 60 years since independence, he stated.
President Akufo-Addo said through the implementation of the Digital Property Addressing System, “every location in Ghana has a digital address, the process of affixing unique property address plates for some 7.5 million properties in all 16 regions has also started.”
He said presently in Ghana, more than 70% of the population has access to financial services either through a bank account or a mobile money account which had been possible through the implementation of mobile money interoperability (between bank accounts and mobile wallets).
President Akufo-Addo said, also, the government’s successful introduction of the Universal QR (Quick Response) CODE for payments across banks, telcos, fintechs and merchants would propel Ghana to be amongst the first countries in Africa to move towards a largely cashless economy.
“Operations of many government institutions including the ports, NHIS, DVLA, GRA and the Passport Office had been digitised. One of the most dramatic examples of this development has been the ability of SSNIT to pay pensions within 10 days of application, as opposed to the endless delays of the past,” he said.
To make it easy to obtain government services, a portal, Ghana.Gov, has been established where all MMDAs are being onboarded.
It is a one-stop shop where anyone can apply for and pay for a government service. It is expected the onboarding of all MMDAs will be completed this year, which will significantly enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost of delivery of government services to Ghanaians.
President Akufo-Addo said the Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), introduced at the country’s Ports to enhance management and collection of customs duties, has, despite initial resistance and controversy, succeeded in eliminating the multiple routes before payment of duties, ensuring seamless processes, increasing revenues and speedy processing of pre-manifest declaration and valuation on the same system.
The government, he said, has also integrated the Ghana.gov platform and the Integrated Tax Application Preparation Systems (ITaPs), which allow taxpayers to make payments at their convenience online and through taxpayers’ banks and the use of mobile money, credit cards and debit cards.
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that we have made significant strides in formalising the economy and we will do even more going forward, he said.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD