I refer to GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia’s response to my letter (‘GRA revenue statements audit for 2015 has been completed by Audit Office’, SN June 23).
While I welcome the steps he has outlined and his commitment to meet the authority’s fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers, we must recognize that the revenue statement is not the published Annual Report. So the fact remains that the 2015 Annual Report of the GRA is still incomplete.
Mr Statia’s statements now beg the question of why the public has been able to read the 2016 Annual Report of the Bank of Guyana (BoG) since April 2017, but cannot do the same for the GRA. Only the 2014 Annual Report for the GRA is complete. Isn’t the GRA according to Article 9 of the Revenue Authority Act, (1996), an independent body corporate similar to the BoG that has the power to trigger its own audit and its own annual report?
Even if the GRA is dependent on the Audit Office to complete the laying of its report in Parliament, there is nothing
stopping Mr Statia and the GRA from following the culture of public accountability that exists at the central bank. The GRA is struggling to adhere to the basics when it comes to transparency and accountability. I am hoping the Minister of Finance especially Minister Jaipaul Sharma who is known to be a stickler for following the law, will have a word with the GRA so that they can get into financial shape.
This is an easy fix; like the Bank of Guyana, GRA should have the ability to publish its annual report on its website. The rule of law provides for it, the Guyanese taxpayers would welcome it and therefore the only missing link is whether there is a firm commitment at the top of the GRA.