Posted on January 16, 2010


Yesterday I went to pay the VAT for the guest house. If you’ve been following this blog, you might have got the impression that we did very well over the Christmas. Of course, this was reflected in our numbers.

When I entered the VAT SERVICE OFFICE, recently refurbished after a fire gutted the entire facility, the officer at the counter recognized me and called me by name over to check my computation. When he looked at the green form, his reaction was “This is encouraging.”

Aha…the door was open for my famous little diatribe on collecting taxes.

“Ya, want to know how such a little place, the smallest in Kumasi with the least number of rooms that just qualifies for a Ghana Tourist Board license, collects so much Well, we add the 15% tax onto the room rate. The customer pays the tax like anywhere else in the world. That’s the difference. It isn’t hard for me to come up with this money when the customer pays it. Sometimes I think after at long stay and multiple rooms occupied, how hard it would be to pay. But no, that’s not how it is.”

I finished with, ” Why don’t you guys a little experiment. For a couple of months, Get a number of hospitality establishments to add the tax onto their rate and see if there is any difference in taxes raised.”

So I leave the office and there staring me in the face is the “OFFICE FOR HUMAN RIGHT AND ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE” It hasn’t been refurbished…ever….looks like something out of a Graham Greene novel set in colonial Africa. I want to go in there, but no I’ll wait. There is a slim hope that an issue pending will be dealt with without going through all that rigmarole…

WONDERING WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT????? Put it this way….a lot of people don’t pay taxes or cheat on taxes because they are discouraged by the response of public sector in providing facilities and service. In this case, the public official is aware of a human rights infringement which I have brought to his attention, but he’s not addressing it….Enough for now….