A Ghanaian NGO called the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) had worked on social justice and human rights issues since its start in 1987. ISODEC recognised the importance of monitoring government budgets as part of this agenda so it set up the Centre for Budget Advocacy (CBA). CBA conducts research and analysis of the budget and the economy, including examination of the effects of revenue policies on the poor, at both the national and local levels. CBA also conducts training on budget issues for government officials and civil society organisations in Ghana and neighbouring countries. CBA has organised public meetings in each of Ghana’s 10 regions to solicit views from citizens about the budget, to create awareness of the budget as an important development tool, and to foster a budget dialogue among different stakeholders in the country.
Tax work has been a key component of CBA’s work since it was founded. One of its first tax-related activities was the publication of a ‘Taxation in Ghana Made Simple’ guide, which was widely disseminated among civil society organisations engaged in budget advocacy and analysis as well as to ordinary citizens.The guide is now used by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration as a textbook for a first degree course in Taxation.
CBA also began including analysis of the government’s revenue proposals in its reviews of the government’s annual budget submission. For instance, in 2005, CBA commented on the reduction in corporate income taxes and shortcomings in tax administration, which force the country to rely heavily on aid. CBA has criticised the government for continually reducing the income tax and relying more heavily on regressive consumption taxes.