The government has expressed its commitment to implement policies that will make Ghana become prosperous but called on citizens to support the sharing of the tax burden to reduce the public debt and budget deficit.
Making the call on Thursday, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance, urged Ghanaians to be confident in building a prosperous society and developing the solid human capital required to drive the economies of Africa.
However, Mr Ofori-Atta, who was speaking during the E-levy Town Hall meeting in Koforidua, said the efforts would require some sacrifices on the parts of the citizens and government.
Highlighting the major government spending, he said, the government had spent GHS40 billion on education, GHS14 billion on health care, GHS14.9 billion on enhancing internal security and GHS18 billion on flagship projects.
He explained that these expenditures had helped 1.26 million citizens in receiving free SHS, 3.45 million citizens from school feeding programmes, 100,000 NABCO persons and 244 households.
He said for the government to have been able to cater for these human expenditures, indicated that in the coming years there would be challenges in mobilizing resources to carry out other projects.
“Traditionally, when the challenges arise, we look at fuel increments and we all know the negative effects it bears on all of us,” he said.
“Currently 2.4 million people are registered as taxpayers out of 18 million potential taxpayers,” he added. “This means 2.4 million people are paying taxes to support 30.8 million population.”
Mr Ofori-Atta said without the payment of tax, “Ghana cannot achieve national development if we do not pay taxes.”
“If we think deep in ourselves, nobody like tax but rarely if we look at our debt situation, what we need to do is to raise our own money for national development,” he said.
“Our tax revenue as a percentage of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is below our peer countries in Sub-Sahara Africa, SSA, thus 13% as at 2021, which increased from 12.2% in 2020,” he added.
“Even though it increased, it is still very low as we compare to 16.5% and above which we cannot sustain so we need to cure that.”
Looking at the distribution of taxes among the regions, greater Accra contributes 88 per cent, he said, “if we combine Eastern, Ashanti and Western contributes 3% of national tax, which cannot be right when we look at the population in these regions.”
“Hence, we need to find a way to share our tax burden.”
For Ghana to reduce its public debts and budget deficit, Mr Ofori-Atta said it required an increase in the tax revenue but to attain this “It would require the effort of every Ghanaian to take their part and pay their required taxes.”
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