GAR Boss’ Mandate Renewed

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As Revenue Mobilization Goes Up

The Presidency, on Monday March 10, 2014 gave additional four-year term to the current Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) boss, after assessing his performance for the past years.

According to the information from the Presidency, George Blankson, was given the extension, after having satisfied the presidency with his performance, since he assumed the position under the John Mills administration as the first Commissioner-General for the GRA.

Revenue collection by the various organizations under the GRA is said to have gone up in recent times.

The surge in tax collection, has also been attributed to the satisfactory performance of the Presidential Taskforce that has identified and is chasing tax evaders, leading to the return of the nearly GH¢800 million into the Government coffers.

The re-appointment of Mr. Blankson as Commissioner-General of GAR by President John Mahama, preceded last Wednesday’s appointment of the Assistant Commissioner of the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), Wallace Kofi Akondor, as Acting Commissioner effective May 5, 2014 to replaced Isaac Ofoe Apronti, who attained the mandatory retirement age of 60.

A letter signed by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Bani, and copied to the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, also named Frederick Gavor, as Acting Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations of CEPS.

John Vianney Kuudamnuru, will now be Head of Imports and Exports at the headquarters of the service. Osman Awudu, heads to Tema from Kumasi as Sector Head.

Mr. Awudu, will be replaced by Mr. Kofi Toffah, as new Sector Head in Kumasi. Mr. Melvin Mc-Bruce is now new Head for Takoradi Sector in the Western Region.

The Chief of Staff, Mr. Bani is in-charge of the Presidential Taskforce, and is said to be paying keen attention to collection and mobilization of the funds for the execution of the Government priority projects for the 100 Community Day Senior High Schools.

The GRA boss, is a Tax Reform Consultant/Tax Administrator and Economist with specialization in revenue modernisation, VAT administration, design and implementation of tax procedures, as well as economic analysis and revenue forecasting.

Until his appointment as the Commissioner-General, Mr. Blankson worked for Crown Agents as a Lead consultant/ Manager to the DFID to the National Revenue Authority (NRA) project, Sierra Leone.

His responsibilities at the NRA Sierra Leone, involved advising the Commissioner-General on all the operational business areas covered by the project. He was the lead advisor on all aspects of design and implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT), as well as working with other consultants to develop and implement a Revenue Authority modernization programme.

Among his achievements at the NRA was the effective management of the project, which impressed the DFID to expand the scope and budget of the project in 2007 to include an additional component: a Short Term Revenue Improvement Programme (STRIP).

In 2003, Mr. Blankson, led a three-member consulting team from the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the Republic of Gambia to train the Sales Tax Staff of the Inland Revenue Department on the draft Sales Tax Regime, as well as review and submit comments on the draft legislation.

The Commissioner-General was a Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations at the VAT Service, Ghana from 1998 to 2005, Deputy Director of Operations on the VAT project, Ministry of Finance, 1993-1998.He was an Assistant Commissioner in charge of Research and Monitoring at the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) from 1986-1993.

Mr. Blankson, has a number of publications to his credit. Some of his publications include “Enhancing Tax Compliance Under VAT in Ghana”, a paper which was presented at the International Seminar on Taxation, Senior Course Two in Tokyo, Japan in 2003, “Exemption and Zero-Rating Under VAT: The Ghanaian Experience and Lessons”, a paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Forum of Commissioners of VAT in Africa held at Livingston, Zambia in 2001 among others.

He holds an M.SC Economics with specialization in Taxation from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, B.A (Hons) Economics from the University of Ghana, and a Certificate in Senior Taxation Course from the National Tax College, Tokyo, Japan.

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