Research by GIZ Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) has shown that religious and traditional leaders are uniquely placed to shape public behavior and opinion on the fulfillment of civic duties such as paying taxes.
The study, “Promoting Accountable Governance through Active Engagement with Religious Actors on National and Local Taxes,” aims to establish an ongoing dialogue on government revenues and expenditures between religious leaders, the tax administration and tax authorities. other relevant political actors at national and local level. levels.
It looked at how religious and traditional leaders could be used to support domestic revenue mobilization in Ghana.
The involvement of religious and traditional leaders will provide the government with an additional channel of communication with the public to improve tax compliance and thereby better achieve its revenue targets.
It will also allow faith communities to voice their interests and concerns regarding government revenues and expenditures and political actors to respond to citizens’ concerns and discuss their policy priorities.
Commenting on the study, Raphael Frerking, Program Manager, Governance for Inclusive Development (GovID) – GIZ Ghana, said traditional and religious leaders and their role in educating taxpayers had been overlooked.
He said the baseline study, however, showed that religious actors have a key role to play in the revenue mobilization campaign.
“We have found that the trust that many citizens place in them makes them interesting players who can also play a crucial role in improving tax compliance by emphasizing the links between paying taxes, accountability and successful governance,” he said.
Furthermore, we realized that enhanced dialogue between state actors and religious communities could build on the good, peaceful relations between religious and ethnic groups of which Ghana is justly proud, while helping to preserve cohesion. social and inner peace for the future. .
He said that while faith leaders are willing to “marry” with the GRA in taxpayer education, they need to build continued capacity in VSEs, knowledgeable resource people and active engagement with the GRA. GRAs and MMDAs.
The study noted that the GRA was making good progress with its communication materials, but needed to customize the materials for different segments of the population such as faith communities and develop messages that can engage effectively with young people on social media.