An economist and research fellow with the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), Dr. Adu Owusu Sarkodie is admonishing government to focus more on domestic revenue mobilization as it prepares to present the 2020 Budget Statement and Fiscal Policy to Ghanaians on 13th November 2019.
According to him, revenue generation is one of the most important aspects of economic growth, thus government must create more avenues and also manage the existing ones properly.
“I will support any measure that is, first of all, to help mobilize domestic resource and also to manage it because it is one thing getting the revenue and it is another thing managing it. The leakages in the system that we have been talking about are due to the lack of this. So, this is what I want to see, the effort and the energy by the Ministry of Finance and the Central Government, in general, to focus on domestic resource mobilization,” he said.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, he asked government to desist from increasing taxes or the introducing new ones ones and rather put more effort into making sure the existing taxes that are not being used, are applied accordingly.
“Taxing is one of the ways to raise revenue but it is not the only way. I will not support any further increment of tax rates. May be marginally, I may support but, the thing is that there are so many areas that government can raise revenue and not necessarily increasing tax rates and introducing new taxes,” he said.
“We have talked about the Exemption Bill. The Exemption Bill per our research could give Ghana about five hundred million Ghana cedis (GHS500,000,000) only in 2019 alone, why was it not passed before the mid-year review this year?” he stated.
Mr. Owusu Sarkodie further noted that for government to control expenditure in the coming election year, it should raise enough revenue to avoid cutting relevant expenditure which will result in causing hardships to the average Ghanaian.
“To control expenditure, I think we already have the existence of the Fiscal Council, which by law, is supposed to compel the central government to have a budget deficit within 5% of GDP and I am sure they will do that. But the question has to be at what cost? Are we sacrificing expenditure of certain areas or we are going to raise enough revenue? The latter is what I will recommend,” he stated.
“We should be able to raise the revenue to keep this 5% budget deficit and I am sure we will do that, but if we don’t collect enough revenue certain key expenditure, like road constructions, hospitals, schools will be cut and Ghanaians will suffer in the end,” he added.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, is expected to present the Government’s 2019 Budget Statement and Fiscal Policy to the House of Legislature on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.
Ahead of this, government has already indicated it will self-finance the 2020 polls while ensuring that there are no overruns.