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President Akufo-Addo Appoints Joe Ghartey As New GRA Board Chair

President Akufo-Addo Appoints Joe Ghartey As New GRA Board Chair
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appointed Joe Ghartey as the new Board Chair of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

Mr Ghartey who is the current Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikado-Ketan replaces Dr. Tony Oteng Gyasi.Mr Ghartey is tasked with reforming the GRA and streamlining its activitiesOther members of the 9-Member Board, which is chaired by the Member of Parliament for Essikado Ketan Constituency include: Dr. Alex Ampaabeng a tax and fiscal policy enthusiast, who is the representative of the Finance Ministry, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Elsie Addo Awadzi, and Commissioner General of the GRA, Julie Essiam.

The rest are: the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Micheal Okyere Baafi who is on the board as the representative of the Trade Ministry, Immediate Past Municipal Chief Executive of Asante Akim, Madam Susan Akomea, who is on the board as a representative of the President , Madam Araba Bosomtwe Another representative of the President. Mr. Kwabena Abankwah Yeboah, a fellow of the Ghana College of Pharmacy, is also joining the board.The Board of the GRA, is being reconstituted after the former Board Chairman, Dr. Tony Oteng-Gyasi resigned from his position.

This resulted in the dissolution of the entire board. In response to this development, President Akufo-Addo appointed Ms. Julie Essiam as the new Commissioner-General of the GRA, succeeding Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah.Dr. Oteng-Gyasi assumed the role of Board Chair of the GRA in August 2021, succeeding Professor Stephen Adei.

Members of the dissolved board included Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, Adelaide Ahwireng, Prof. Peter Ohene Kyei, Kwabena Boateng, Dela Obeng-Sakyi, Maxwell Opoku-Afari, and Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei.Dr. Oteng-Gyasi, a former President of the Association of Ghana Industries and Managing Director and Chairman of Tropical Cable and Conductor Ltd, took over the role of Board Chair following Professor Stephen Adei’s tenure from 2019 to 2021.

Inaugurating the Board today, May 22, 2024, the Finance Minister, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam charged the members to work hard to help improve Ghana’s revenue mobilization drive. “We must improve revenue mobilization to achieve our medium-term revenue target of 18%-20% tax/GDP ratio and we must meet all indicative targets and structural benchmarks related to revenue under the Fund programme”, he said.

He urged the members to bring their experience on board to help reduce waste in the system while improving revenue collection.“Given your extensive backgrounds and professional expertise, I am confident that each Board member will meet the expectations of government, and the general public”, he stressed.Dr. Adam promised to support the efforts of the board members with the open-door policy.

“I am available to meet at short notice and also want to see more regular updates on revenue performance to ensure we remain aligned and focused as we advance”The Finance Minister reminded the 9 member board that; “We must leave the inauguration with a dedicated resolve to change the narrative and eclipse a 20% threshold of revenue to GDP within the shortest possible time”

Dr. Adam encouraged the board members not to forget that the country’s obligations under the International Monetary Fund-supported Post COVID Programme for Economic Growth.

The Minister also charged the 9-member board to immediately deal with fundamental human resource issues, particularly concerning promotions, capacity development, and sub-optimal physical working conditions will be critical.

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was established in 2009 as a merger of the three revenue agencies; the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VATS), and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) by the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, (Act 791).

GRA apart from its core mandate, also administers several international agreements that govern the country’s relations with other tax jurisdictions and institutions such as World Customs Organisation Protocols, World Trade Organisation Protocols, Double Taxation, and Exchange of Information Agreements.

The Authority is made up of two operational divisions; the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD), and the Customs Division (CD) with assistance from the Support Services Division (SSD) and the Commissioner General’s Secretariat.Joe Ghartey (62) is a Ghanaian lawyer, academic and politician.

He was appointed by President Akufo-Addo on 11th January 2017 as Railways and Development Minister and exited the ministry on 7 January 2021. Joe Ghartey hails from Shama, in the Western Region.He was appointed House Prefect of Pickard-Parker House in his senior year and he used his good offices to champion the development of sports and student participation in sports programmes at Mfantsipim.

After Mfantsipim, Ghartey enrolled to study law and obtained his LLB (Hons) degree in 1986 from the University of Ghana and BL from the Ghana School of Law in 1988, qualifying to be called to the Bar of Ghana in that same year.Ghartey undertook his national service duty as a legal officer to the Komenda Eguafo Abirem District Assembly in the Central Region of the Republic of Ghana.

He also took up a job as an associate at the chambers of lawyer Gwira in Sekondi.Later, he joined the firm of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh & Co., a leading law firm in Ghana, which was co-founded by his colleague parliamentarian and Cabinet Minister in the John Agyekum Kufour administration, Nana Akufo-Addo. Ghartey left this firm after seven years and in 1994 co-founded the law firm, Ghartey & Ghartey with his wife Efua Ghartey, who is a respected lawyer.He is currently the Senior Partner at Ghartey & Ghartey, a well-respected firm of barristers & solicitors located at Labone in Accra.

He has provided legal services to several corporate entities and professional bodies, both nationally and internationally, ranging from the field of taxation, labour law, environmental and company law. He is an authority in corporate and investment law.

He has additionally supported many human rights causes in Ghana.As a co-founder of the Ghana Committee on Human and Peoples Rights, Hon. Ghartey has provided extensive education on Human Rights, Civil Rights, and Obligations to various citizen groups. The Committee was consequently given observer status at the African Commission for Human People’s Rights.

He also served as Chair of the Inter-African Network of Human Rights Organizations based in Zambia.He was part of the team that wrote the “Stolen Verdict”, in 1993, which was a detailed account of the widespread electoral malpractices that occurred during the 1992 general election.

He chaired the Session of the National Conference which amended the constitution of the NPP at the Trade Fair Center in Accra on 22 August 2009.This was when the Electoral College for the election of the presidential candidate was expanded from a few thousand delegates to more than one hundred thousand delegates.

He was also a member of the team of legal experts appointed by the National Council of the N.P.P to review the conduct of the election petition that was filed in the Supreme Court after the 2012 general elections and to provide recommendations going forward.The Committee submitted its report to the National Council. The report included proposals for reform of the electoral process in Ghana.

All along the coastal belt of Ghana, Ghartey has supported many constituencies in the Western, Central, Greater Accra, and Volta Regions, including Shama, Sekondi Takoradi, Effie Kwasimintsim, Tarkwa, Prestea, Amenfi, Korle Klottey, La-Dade Kotopon and Hohoe.In 2000, he was a pillar in the Western Regional Presidential Campaign Team of the NPP, travelling the length and breadth of the region with the then-candidate John Agyekum Kufour, who went on to win the general elections in December that year.

Ghartey is currently the NPP Member of Parliament for Essikado/Ketan Constituency in the Western Region of the Republic of Ghana. He was first elected to the seat in the December 2004 elections and was re-elected in both December 2008 and December 2012 elections.

In all three elections, he was not contested in the primaries of the NPP to choose the parliamentary candidate for the Constituency.During the administration of President John Agyekum Kufuor, Ghartey was appointed Deputy Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice in March 2005.

He was soon promoted and appointed the substantive Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in June 2006, a position he held until January 2009 following the electoral loss of the NPP in the 2008 general elections.Ghartey was the longest serving Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under the Kufuor administration. Joe Ghartey was sworn into office by President Kufuor on 16 June 2006 as the 20th Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Republic of Ghana.

His appointment was a testament to his hard work, brilliance, achievements, and honourable service to the government and people of Ghana. He was another laudable addition to a long line of such distinguished former Ghanaian Attorneys-General as Victor Owusu (1966-1969), and Nana Akuffo-Addo (2001–2003).As Attorney-General, Ghartey launched an Agenda for Change in the Ministry of Justice.

The main aim was to radically improve the effectiveness of the office and impact significantly on all aspects of justice delivery in Ghana. Its flagship program was Justice for All which, among other things, aimed at providing access to the courts for people who had been remanded for long periods without prosecution.

This program saw the release of hundreds of incarcerated persons from custody who had not been prosecuted or convicted but were being held by the State He was known for personally leading his legal teams to court on several high-profile cases. His special interest in Investment Law was evident in the development of the legal framework and infrastructure for the Oil and Gas Industry in Ghana.

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