Governance is about the efficient exploitation, allocation and use of the resources of the country.
Whatever must be efficiently shared must first be generated. Quite sadly, in our part of the world, majority do not want to pay taxes but are making demands on the government for various amenities.
This year, many communities have been on the neck of the government demanding that their roads are fixed. Again, suddenly the quest by the government to collect more revenue through taxes has become a weapon in the hands of the Minority to blackmail the governing NPP.
The tragedy of our circumstances is the hypocrisy of our opposition politicians. They are the first to incite the people against the government although they implemented similar policies while in government.
Since the 2024 budget was presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister, the debate has been met with inconsistencies, leaving the people very confused.
First, who introduced the tax on sanitary pads? Our checks indicate that it was introduced in 2013 under John Mahama as President, with the present Speaker as MP.
There may be challenges facing particularly rural girls buying sanitary pads because of the high prices. But we are worried when the NDC Minority pretends that the taxes were not introduced by the Mahama-Amissah Arthur government but by President Akufo-Addo, who the MP for Ada, Madam Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe, is reported to have said imposed blood tax on girls.
There is yet the display of double standards by Minority MPs during the debate on tax exemption for some companies in the country. Our brothers in the NDC make it look like this is the first time that any government is introducing tax exemptions in the budget.
The NDC says the tax exemption is another form of kickbacks, making us wonder whether when they granted tax exemptions from 2009 to 2017, they were paid kickbacks by those companies.
As they claim now, were those companies aligned to the NDC? We make a plea to our representatives in Parliament to put the nation first and assist the government to raise the revenue for national development.
We live in a country where some of our politicians prefer to politicise the development issues instead of seeking alliances to find solutions to our challenges.
One sure way is to increase the tax net to cover all income earners. Our people including even professionals do not see the need to pay taxes. Ghana has a very big informal sector including artisans such as masons, electricians, plumbers, dressmakers and mechanics, but they virtually do not pay taxes.
Some years ago, the government introduced a tax regime to include artisans who would be mandated to pay withholding taxes, but the policy was met with opposition.
We need to rally national action to change the narrative concerning the payment of taxes to avoid our over reliance on foreign aid. The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has to be whipped into action. They must act swiftly to get more people onto the tax net and ensure that all house owners pay property rates.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in this vein has tasked the GRA to find more innovative ways to improve our tax as a percentage of GDP. He urged the GRA to capitalise on the connection between the Ghana Card and Tax Identification Number (TIN) to enhance the identification and tax collection processes for individuals and businesses.
Describing the GRA approach of focusing solely on existing taxpayers as “lazy”, Dr. Bawumia emphasised the need for a more effective strategy targeting those not yet tax-compliant. This is a very damning assessment of the performance of the GRA. We call on the GRA to sit up and use technology to expand the tax net instead of chasing after those who are captured on your database.
Expanding the tax net to cover many income earners is possible provided the Authority stops doing the same thing persistently and expect to achieve new results beyond the African average of tax to GDP.
Humbly, we plead with the Veep not to only lament the inefficiency of GRA but he must crack the whip.