The Minister-designate for Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Atta, has disclosed new strategies that will be used to turn around the economy of the country which has been badly hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Ofori-Atta has identified revenue mobilisation under property rates, tax exemption and digitization of tax administration and collection as three key areas of focus to turn around the economic fortunes of the country.
The Finance Minister-designate made the disclosure when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointment Committee on the second day of his vetting on Friday.
Mr Ofori-Atta believes the new strategy will help push the current low tax-to-GDP ratio of about 12.5 per cent to the proposed tax-to-GDP ratio of at least 17 per cent. This, he says, is vital to the country’s vision of a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’.
The Finance Minister-designate described the 2021 Budget Statement and Economic Policy “as a battle cry” for all Ghanaians “to share the burden” that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on the nation.
He added that aside the need to share burden, the populace must also not lose sight of the over 8700 projects the 2021 budget seeks to complete. He said this is a way of bringing finality to the culture of not completing projects previously done with tax payers’ monies.
“Consolidation is important for us because the macroeconomic indicators have been stable and clearly what we did in the past three and half years was what was able to support us in 2020 when the pandemic hit,” Mr Ofori-Atta said.
He called for adoption of positive behavioural change among Ghanaians, saying it is a critical driver for realising the President’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
He rejected claims that Ghanaian taxpayers are worse off today because the Akufo-Addo administration has imposed more taxes on them.
He stated that a critical analysis of the taxes abolished during the first-term of the NPP administration show that taxpayers in net terms are better off now than under the previous NDC administration.
He said burden sharing would not only help transform the country, but also ensure the populace shares the opportunities that will emanate from its common efforts at building the Ghana we all want.
He called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to grow and transform the economy.
“For the past four years, the economy has grown, social protection for the vulnerable has been increased, and the conditions of people have been made better, by the grace of God,” he stated.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the Akufo-Addo government had been strong in fighting corruption by increasing allocation to all anti-corruption governance institutions while jealously guarding the public purse.
“We have also been strong in fighting against COVID-19 pandemic, and will keep adding value to the economy in our commitment to transforming Ghana,” he added.