The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday, 20th June, 2012 launched a Code of Ethics and Conduct (COCE) to promote integrity, fairness, transparency and to guide staff in their work.
Launching the COCE on behalf of the Minister of Finance & Economic Planning (MOFEP), a Tax Policy Advisor at the MOFEP, Dr. Edward Larbi Siaw, said the COCE must provide the basis for identifying all conduct that is at variance with the vision and mission statements of GRA and should not be a document left on the shelves for cobwebs.
Dr. Larbi Siaw mentioned that the issue of identity cards must be immediately addressed. This, according to him is the first step towards the disclosure of identity in business interactions. “Customers or for that matter taxpayers must know who they are dealing with. All over the world, revenue officers and security officers are identified with name tags. This must be introduced immediately if the implementation of the COCE must be effective”, he added.
He further stressed that the acceptance of gifts must be taken seriously within the implementation of the COCE. He cited that where an expensive gift is given for protocol reasons this must not be treated as a personal gift but must be handed over to the Authority in order not to influence behaviour. Mr. Larbi Siaw assured GRA of Government’s assistance to protect and defend staff in the spirit and letter of the COCE.
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson in his welcome address said the COCE would redefine operations of staff and also adopt a zero tolerance to malfeasance or misconduct."We need to make a firm commitment, both individually and collectively to the virtues of honesty, integrity and commitment to our jobs and these virtues must be renewed on daily basis so that we can confront any emerging realities or challenges in our work environment”, he said.
He stated that staff must consider integrity as a major component of the organizational change and that GRA needed to promote a culture-based integrity programme that would guide and explain the expectations of behaviour, values and ethics of workers. He noted that Management would be transparent in enforcing the COCE and decisions reached would be based on fair and objective criteria devoid of discrimination."We will strive to apply the provisions in this document consistently and ensure that all staff avail themselves to the appeals or grievance procedures," he stressed.
Mr. Blankson however warned that Management would not compromise misconduct that had the potential of tarnishing the image of GRA.
Speaking to GRA News, Mr Blankson called on Management and staff to cooperate and stressed that the COCE was a consensual document that reflected both management and staff's commitment to transform GRA into a formidable and competitive tax administration.