The Ghana Community Network Services Limited (GCNet) has presented GH¢2.4 million to the government as dividend.
The payment is in respect of the final dividend payment due the government for 2011 by virtue of its equity stake in GCNet held by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on behalf of the government.
It brings to almost GH¢63 million the total dividend payment made to the government over the past eight years.
The Executive Chairman of GCNet, Dr Nortey Omaboe, presented the cheque for the dividend to the Minister of Lands and Forestry, Mr Mike Hammah, who received it on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.
Dr Omaboe explained that in addition to the direct gains to the government in the form of dividends, other indirect dividends accrued to the government through similar dividends GCNet paid to the Ghana Shippers Authority and the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), both shareholders in the trade facilitation company.
He also explained that the 2011 total dividend payment was relatively lower in comparison with that of previous years because the company had in recent years had to invest nearly $20 million in the automation of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA and the Registrar-General’s Department.
“Because this investment has been funded largely from the internally generated resources of GCNet, it has affected the quantum of distributable income available for payment to its shareholders as dividend,” he said.
Dr Omaboe also stated that with the completion of the new GRA automation project by the end of 2012 and the deployment of a new system, GCNet would be able to make greater corporate contribution to the mobilisation of non-tax revenue as dividend payments and also greatly enhance the efficiency of domestic tax collection by the GRA.
For his part, Mr Hammah expressed regret that a number of state-owned enterprises and those in which the government held shares often performed below expectation.
He, therefore, commended GCNet for being alive to its responsibilities and making regular dividend payments to the government.
He observed that in view of the versatile system that GCNet had deployed, there was the need to leverage the facilities at its disposal for it to ensure that other areas in the economy that required e-governance services to improve public sector service delivery were considered.
Present at the presentation ceremony were the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Enoch Cobbinah; the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, as well as some managers of GCNet.