President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced that starting April 1, 2021, all national identification numbers will become Tax Identification Numbers (TIN).

Government, he indicated, is implementing this to formalise the largely informal economy his administration inherited when he assumed office in 2017.

Delivering a message on the state of the nation to Parliament yesterday, President Akufo-Addo explained that the government decided to formalise the country’s economy by embarking on a massive digitisation drive.

He noted that there has been progress in all areas in the formalisation of the country’s economy after four years in office.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that the country’s economy has become more formalised under his watch than any government since the country’s independence.

“Mr. Speaker, our effort at digitisation is gathering steam. When my government assumed office in 2017, we faced the challenge of a largely informal economy. The features of the informal economy included the absence of unique identification for citizens and residents of Ghana, and the absence of a working property address system across the country. Further, only a small proportion of our population was registered by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) with Tax Identification Numbers (TINs), and by SSNIT for social security. Seventy percent (70%) of the adult population did not have access to a bank account, financial transactions were dominated by cash, and the processes of service delivery in most MMDAs were largely manual and highly bureaucratic. It was in this context that we set about the process of formalizing our informal economy through digitisation.

“Mr. Speaker, after four years in office, I am happy to state that there has been more progress in formalising the Ghanaian economy than there was in the previous sixty (60) years since independence.

“Mr. Speaker, for the first time, we have enrolled 15.5 million people onto the National ID card system (the Ghanacard), and we will complete the process this year. From 1st April, and this is not an April Fool’s prank, all National ID numbers will become Tax Identification Numbers. In so doing, the number of people registered by GRA for tax purposes will increase from the current three million (3 million) to 15.5 million. I should recall that at the end of 2016, only 750,000 people had TIN numbers. The increase to 15.5 million in just four years is simply phenomenal.

“Similarly, from the 2nd quarter of this year, all National ID numbers will also become SSNIT numbers. This will increase the number of people on the SSNIT database from four million (4 million) to 15.5 million, making it easier for new contributors to be enlisted on the scheme. The National ID numbers will also become NHIS numbers. Very soon, we will link the National ID to all SIM cards, bank accounts, Births and Deaths Registry, DVLA documents, and passports.

“Mr. Speaker, for the first time, through the implementation of the Digital Property Addressing System, every location in Ghana has a digital address. The process of affixing unique property address plates for some 7.5 million properties in all sixteen (16) regions has also started.

“Mr. Speaker, for the first time in Ghana, more than seventy percent (70%) of the population has access to financial services either through a bank account or a mobile money account. We have been able to do so through the implementation of mobile money interoperability (between bank accounts and mobile wallets), with Ghana as the first and only country in Africa to have done so. It is, therefore, not surprising that Ghana is the fastest growing mobile money market in Africa. Furthermore, our successful introduction of the Universal QR (Quick Response) CODE for payments across banks, telcos, fintechs and merchants will propel Ghana to be amongst the first countries in Africa (if not the first) to move towards a largely cashless economy, when fully rolled out across the country with the support of the Bank of Ghana.

“Mr. Speaker, we have also digitised the operations of many government institutions including the ports, NHIS, DVLA, GRA, and the Passport Office. One of the most dramatic examples of this development has been the ability of SSNIT to pay pensions within ten (10) days of application, as opposed to the endless delays of the past. To make it easy to obtain government services, a portal, Ghana.Gov, has been established where all MMDAs are being onboarded. It is a one stop shop where anyone can apply for and pay for a government service. We expect to complete the onboarding of all MMDAs this year, and, in so doing, significantly enhance the efficiency and reduce the cost of delivery of government services to our people.  

“The Integrated Customs Management Systems (ICUMS), which is an end-to-end customs management system at the Ports to enhance management and collection of customs duties, has, despite initial resistance and controversy, succeeded in eliminating the multiple routes prior to payment of duties, ensuring seamless processes, increasing revenues, and speedy processing of pre-manifest declaration and valuation on the same system. We have also integrated the platform and the Integrated Tax Application Preparation Systems (ITaPs), which allow taxpayers to make payments at their convenience online and through taxpayers’ banks, and the use of mobile money, credit cards and debit cards.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that we have made significant strides in formalising the economy, and we will do even more going forward”, President Akufo-Addo concluded.