The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has condemned the deliberate attitude of commercial banks to do business with money received in the name of the state before releasing the money into the state coffers.
It said the delays, which ran up to one year, denied the government the needed revenue to embark upon infrastructural and socio-economic development.
Members of the PAC expressed the concern last Wednesday following a revelation by the 2012 Auditor General’s Report that ECOBANK and GCB Bank had delayed transfers of substantial amounts of money they had collected on behalf of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) into the Consolidated Fund.
The Chairman of the PAC, Mr Kweku Agyeman Manu, and other members indicated that commercial banks would take the money on behalf of the state but they invest the money to reap profit before releasing it to the Bank of Ghana.
Mr Agyeman Manu said the delay in releasing the money had hampered socio-economic growth as it resulted in the government lacking the needed money to embark on development projects.
He said if such money was lodged into state coffers on time, the Minister of Finance would be spared the pain of having to travel outside the country to raise loans to support government business.
Mr Agyeman Manu said the managing directors of the GCB?Bank and ECOBANK would have to explain how they went about the releases for reconciliation purposes.
Consequently, he said a meeting with the GCB and ECOBANK managing directors, the BoG, the Controller and Accountant General and the GRA would be held at a yet-to-be fixed date for the reconciliation of the figures.
The Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, told the PAC that when the GRA detected the delay by the GCB and ECOBANK to release the money, it wrote to release the money plus the interest.
He said GCB Bank and ECOBANK had paid all the money, including interest and penalty.
Mr Blankson said the GRA had professionals who did monthly reconciliation of taxes collected on behalf of the state.
Source: Daily Graphic
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