BY WILBERFORCE ASARE
GOVERNMENT’S DESIRE and ability to mobilise and maximise domestic revenue is an integral part of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated.
He says the government is, therefore, putting in place the necessary blocks, such as the issuance of a national ID Card, a National Digital Property Addressing System, and the use of a Tax Identification Number to access key services, to broaden the tax base and reduce the tax burden on the estimated 1.2million taxpayers supporting a population of about 27 million.
The Vice President yesterday reiterated at an ongoing Conference in Accra on ‘Moving Ghana Beyond Aid – Revenue Mobilization’ the Government’s commitment to develop Ghana using domestic revenues and ingenuity.
The Conference, organised by the Africa Centre For Economic Transformation in collaboration with Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund, is being attended by countries which have signed on to the G20-Compact With Africa (CWA), including Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo and Tunisia.
Outlining a number of measures the government was implementing to strengthen the economy and boost domestic revenue growth, Vice President Bawumia said President Akufo-Addo’s vision of Moving Ghana beyond aid was not mere rhetoric but a reflection of the reality, as aid and donor fatigue grew.
“Judging from our history and our vision for the future, there is no doubt that we need to rethink how we develop as a country. It has become obvious that we need to be more efficient and effective in managing our resources to ensure rapid economic growth and transformation.
“Going beyond aid is an inevitable conversation, and we can choose to confront it now or postpone it at our peril.
“In fact, a greater illusion is for us to think that we can continue to build schools to educate our children, provide adequate health services for a healthy Ghana, provide safe and adequate water, provide sanitation services for a clean Ghana, provide law and order for a good society, on the inexhaustible charity of donor projects,” Dr Bawumia said.
One of the key pillars of the vision of moving Ghana beyond aid, Vice President Bawumia reiterated, was to enhance domestic revenue, while pursuing a more transparent, prudent and accountable use and management of public resources.
“For now, ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ is resting on five pillars: First, and most obvious, is to enhance domestic revenue mobilization. And we must do so in ways that do not undermine productive activities, or distort private incentives for work.
“Second is to encourage higher private savings as a source of loanable funds to support domestic credit and capital market, and expand financial inclusion.
“Third is to pursue a more transparent, prudent and accountable use and management of public resources.
“Fourth is to leverage our resources that are buried deep in the ground for development in more innovative ways than the conventional model of royalty and tax regimes.
“Fifth is innovative mobilization and use of external resources in the emerging development finance landscape.”
Vice President Bawumia urged conference attendees to come up with new ideas and new and better ways of improving revenue collection.
“How can technology help? How do we minimize human interface and the risk of collusive behaviour in avoiding and evading taxes? I will encourage resource persons and participants to help us address these challenges.
“Let me assure you that we are committed to implementing policies and operational steps that will put us on a sound footing to mobilize the required revenue for sustainable development.”
Focus of the Conference
The two-day conference will provide Compact With Africa (CWA) countries a common platform for knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning on revenue mobilization as well as ways to overcome aid dependence, ease financing constraints, and enhance growth prospects. All key elements to achieve prosperity without jeopardizing debt sustainability will also be considered.
Additionally, the conference will also help CWA countries deal with institutional and political constraints in revenue mobilization, improving tax compliance, and alleviating base erosion and profit shifting by multinational companies.
It will focus on common domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) challenges and propose short and medium-term growth-friendly revenue-enhancing solutions.
About the Compact
The CWA was initiated by the German Presidency in the Finance Track, endorsed by the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Baden-Baden in March, 2017, to promote private investment in Africa, including infrastructure.
The CWA initiative aims to attract private investment to the CWA countries by ensuring macroeconomic stability. Investment-friendly tax systems will help maintain fiscal discipline, while providing adequate financing for governments’ development needs.