Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government has the growing appetite to bridge the huge funding gap for Ghana’s development beyond the traditional streams of aids and loans.
Borrowing the famous words of US Supreme Court Justice Oliver, the Finance Minister who was the Guest Speaker at the Danquah Institute Economic Forum held last Friday May 10, 2019 at the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Accra said taxes are the price Ghanaians have to pay for civilization and development to happen in the country.
Speaking on the theme “Bridging the gap between the formal and informal economy, the role of domestic revenue mobilization in an era of Ghana beyond aid”, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta averred that taxes essentially bring to life all government policies as those who have traveled abroad marveled at the development they witness.
“Taxes essentially bring to life all government policies. In all our travels abroad, we marvel at the well-maintained road networks and public housing, the clean cities, structured drainage system, beautiful public parks. These are mainly the handy work of their taxpayers . . .we all bear testimonies to the growing appetite to bridge the huge funding gap for Ghana’s development beyond the traditional streams of aid and loans,” he stated.
He however encouraged Ghanaians as it is done in developed economies to pay taxes as “taxes give good roads to the farmgate, street lights and police on the beat to keep our communities safe and also to healthcare and public schools for the masses and all of our people, sports amenities, libraries to keep kids busy, public transports and all of the things that we yearn for in infrastructure”.
“All these public services are funded mainly by taxes, loans and direct service charges. Out of the three, loans are options but still must be paid off by the other two. The picture in 2018 tells a story. We raised 37.8 billion in tax revenue and spent 21 billion to service our loans, not to count how much we spent on salaries for government employees,” he opined.
He bemoaned that “the reality is that the less revenue we raise the more we will have to spend because arrears and interest are accrued and maintenance culture suffers”.
“The irony is that, in spite of all these funding pressures as a government, we also have to worry about how to let the workers who keep our economy going, keep more of their income in their pockets to give them the freedom to spend and save more,” he lamented.