Zenith Bank (Ghana) Limited, on Friday May 24, 2019, in partnership with Firmus Advisory Limited, organised the maiden edition of the Zenith SMEs/Corporates Breakfast Forum, as part of the Bank’s compliance series. The forum focused on tax compliance for successful business operations and it was under the theme, ‘Empowering the Private Sector to Maximize Revenue through Compliance with Ghana’s Tax Reforms’. The Forum which was very well attended was held at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel and brought together the leadership of the Bank, representatives of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Free Zones Board as well as valued SMEs and Corporate customers of the Bank.
The Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Mr. Henry Oroh, in his opening remarks stated that, the initiative was underpinned by the Bank’s mission “to continue to invest in the best people, technology and environment to underscore its commitment to achieving customer enthusiasm”. To this end the Forum congregated the private sector for an informative session on Ghana’s tax reforms, the impact of the reforms, and the implementation of these reforms in their business operations.
Mr. Oroh added that it was also to support government’s initiatives at ensuring tax compliance across the length and breadth of corporate Ghana and to complement government’s effort to strengthen and enforce compliance in the country in 2019 and beyond. The MD/CEO stated that the Forum speaks to the foundational principles of the Zenith brand and its operations. “Zenith is one Bank that has built a reputable brand noted for its excellent compliance regime and corporate governance culture. Therefore, it is part of our strategic direction to initiate customer engagement programs such as this to promote the replication of that same corporate governance culture and compliance regime in SMEs and corporate businesses across the country”.
The MD reiterated the Bank’s firm commitment to supporting the growth of businesses and its contribution to the expansion of Ghana’s economy in general. He also commended the Ghana Revenue Authority for responding strongly over the last two years in the area of driving tax compliance and education in the country.
The Special Guest of Honour for the event, the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr. Kofi Nti, commended Zenith Bank for the laudable initiative and emphasised the need for SMEs and businesses to complement government’s effort in tax revenue mobilization. He revealed plans to introduce an e-payment platform that will allow tax payers in the informal sector to pay their taxes easily and conveniently. The platform, he said, is also expected to enable small scale tax payers, who dominate in the small and medium enterprise sector, to pay their taxes through mobile money platforms.
Mr. Nti said the Authority was currently implementing initiatives and reforms aimed at improving revenue mobilisation, economic growth and accelerated development. He said all those reforms were to boost tax administration in the country and expressed the hope that the private sector would embrace the reforms to improve on compliance level, which would ultimately improve revenue mobilisation. The Commissioner-General said the Authority would also be establishing business support units at all their GRA offices to support businesses to grow and keep their tax obligations in terms of filing tax returns. He assured invited guests that : the GRA does not in any way support the collapse of businesses but rather we help your businesses to grow and expand.” He said the authority would do all it could within its powers to ensure that every Ghanaian got fair treatment.
Integrated tax application systems
The Commissioner said GRA would also introduce the Integrated Tax Application Systems, an electronic filing system, to enable taxpayers file their personal income tax and returns online in the comfort of their rooms and offices with other modules soon to be inputted. He encouraged the public to insist on not buying products that had no excise tax stamp on them. “If the product has the stamp, it means the company has been approved by the Food and Drugs Authority and the Ghana Standards Authority,” he said. He said GRA was not only interested in looking for revenue but also wanted to help the public consume healthy products.
Through the Forum, Zenith Bank has once again reaffirmed its support for the private sector and the growth of Ghana’s economy.