At maiden Quarterly Economic Roundtable Stop announcing new taxes to increase revenue …rather improve efficiency in tax collection – Dr Sowa

The Country Director of International Growth Cen­tre Ghana (IGC-Ghana), Dr Nii Kwaku Sowa, has called on the government to introduce measures to improve efficieny in tax collec­tion rather than announcing new taxes to increase revenue.

Speaking at the maiden Quarter­ly Economic Roundtable held at the University of Ghana in Accra yesterday, he said, the numerous taxes in the country were strangling businesses.

According to him, the current tax handles in the country were enough and the government could raise enough revenue if there were efficiency in tax collection.

The maiden Quarterly Economic Roundtable organised by the Min­istry of Finance and the University of Ghana was on the theme “Re­storing Macroeconomic Stability.”

It was to seek the insight of the academia and discuss measures to maintain macroeconomic stability.

Dr Sowa who delivered the keynote speech said the economic challenges which the economy was going through and which had occasioned International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout was a fiscal problem.

He said the country could not raise enough revenue to meet its expenditure and finance develop­ment projects.

Dr Sowa said the tendency of government since independence had been to run to the IMF when it was facing macroeconomic challenges.

According to him, IMF was not a solution to Ghana’s econom­ic woes but just “an emergency surgery.”

Dr Sowa said the country needed long term economy strategy to propel her development.

To this end, the Country Di­rector of IGC-Ghana called for expenditure rationalisation and prudent use of the country’s finan­cial resources.

He further suggested for the country to re-examine the exemp­tions regime, saying the country’s tax exemptions and holidays “were too many.”

Dr Sowa said the government had several options such as bor­rowing, taxing the citizens and printing money.

The Country Director of IGC-Ghana stressed the need for the government to invest the loans it contracted in areas with strong output so as to generate more revenue for the country.

He said the government should draw a fine balance between borrowing locally and externally in order not to crowd out the private sector and also not create exchange rate problems for the country.

He cautioned the government to desist from printing money to finance its debt, saying that would cause too much money to chase few goods and cause inflation.

Dr Sowa lauded the Ministry of Finance and University of Ghana for organising the programme to create a platform to discuss mea­sures to enhance macroeconomic stability.

The Minister of State at the Min­istry of Finance, Mrs Abena Os­ei-Asare, in her remarks said that this was “time for real action and not talk,” hence the introduction of Quarterly Economic Roundtable.

She said the programme was to spark change and innovative ideas to help address the econom­ic challenges facing the country, saying “Within the challenges lies innovative solutions.”

The Minister of State at the Finance Ministry said the economy was seeing signs of growth and recovery, saying growth in the first quarter of 2024 4.7 per cent was higher than 3.1 per cent recorded in the same period last year.

She pledged that the govern­ment would continue to implement reforms to bring stability to the economy and improve the living conditions and standards of the citizens.

The Minister of State at the Fi­nance Ministry said the programme was to engage the academia and key stakeholders to discuss and proffer solutions to the challenges facing the country.

The Head of Economics Department of the University of Ghana, Professor William Baah- Boateng, urged the government to rationalise expenditure in order not to overrun the budget as the coun­try heads toward the 2024 general election.

He said with the exception of 2004, the country had recorded budget deficit in all the election years.

He called for the reduction in the size of government to help expenditure.

Prof. Baah-Boateng also stressed the need for the exemptions regime to be streamlined to ensure efficiency.


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