The Image of GRA is a work in progress

Georgetown, Wednesday, September 13, 2017: The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has noted the September 11, 2017 editorial of the Kaieteur Newspaper captioned ‘GRA’s Image’. Even though most of the editorial has provided a somewhat accurate analysis of the mammoth task the new Commissioner General Mr. Godfrey Statia is facing in his fight against corruption, it must be pointed out that some elements of the editorial are subjective and based on the editor’s opinion.

It is no secret that the Authority was and is still deeply embedded in a culture of corruption, where allegations of bribery and favoritism are synonymous withthe acronym ‘GRA’. Mr. Statia made his position clear from “day 1” and he personally communicated this to the entire Agency. As Head of the Authority, he has worked to put numerous systems in place geared at minimising corruption while systematically improving efficiency, compliance and revenue collection.

It is a common saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day.” As such, it would be ludicrous for anyone to assume that a culture that was created and festered for decades could be eradicated overnight. Yet, it must be conceded that during the last thirteen months there has been more corrupt officers disciplined than previously recorded for any previous period.

The allegation,that “several senior officials at the GRA who are taking bribes but they are deemed the untouchables’, is an acknowledgement that the editor may have in his/her possession information of corrupt practices. The Commissioner General has on numerous occasions requested the general public and all persons in receipt of such information to share same with the Authority. Such information will be treated with utmost confidence, and upon investigation allow for the termination of the services of such persons and the effective eradication ofthese practices. The Commissioner General again call upon all stakeholders to work together to identify officers who are engaging in these unscrupulous practices, thereby allowing for a level playing field for all businesses and taxpayers.

Taxation is a social contract between the government and its citizens, and all taxpayers should pay their rightful taxes – no more no less.The Authority again calls upon the taxpaying public to cease in such collusion and bring to its attention, those unscrupulous employees and taxpayers engaged in these activities.