When President Akuffo-Addo first pronounced his vision of Ghana beyond Aid before an international gathering, my immediate reaction was: you must first rid Ghanaians of the dependency mentality.
I should have twittered him that line. The vision can be likened to an academic paper. A coherent one has a controlling idea, summarised in a mature thesis statement, which is broadened through major themes or ideas stated through topic sentences.
The themes or ideas are logically developed, strategically supported through cohesive, related sentences.
A paper that follows those rules achieves unity of thought. Ghana beyond aid is this leadership’s controlling idea. The rationale being eventual assertive people whose intelligence and acquired knowledge empower them to decide what they want/need and pursue such through responsible, effective and sustainable use of resources.
The ultimate outcome of an autonomous, Ghanaian society is possible only though ingenious human capital.
Sadly, many Ghanaians – politicians, intellectuals, lay, youth and old – wittingly or unwittingly have failed to grasp that concept.
Major policies expected to propel Ghana towards that vision include gender-equity education, digitisation, industrialisation, environmentally friendly measures, and technology that strategically supports teaching/learning and lends currency to industrial operations, to mention these.
Utilising tax to fund basic and secondary education would help Ghana to raise quality human capital.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) continues to impact education and channel global development.
So the policy of digitisation is expected to bring currency to education and reforms to fuel quality learning and training, as well as diversely sanitise operations across all sectors, bring quality service and convenience to Ghanaians.
Global warming is endangering humanity, so environmental issues constitute a key policy, one major element which is fighting illegal mining to protect natural resources.
It requires a holistic perception to appreciate the high level of governance rolled out in the last five years, amidst severest of constrains.
Indeed, governance is a negotiation between government and the governed.
Policies initiated by the Executive are implemented by public and civil services and the private sectors; such roll out policies through strategic analysis, planning and localisation of initiated policies.
Digitisation is already yielding dividends; interoperability has transformed business transactions and brought desired convenience to the Ghanaian consumer.
If all the sectors zealously tapped the policy, the benefits would be even greater. One hopes for expedited action to compel all sectors to align public services to the policy to reduce exploitation and tax evasion.
However, development does not occur without cost to citizens. Across the world, quality services are offered to citizens at a huge price known as Taxation.
Pragmatic Ghanaians know that governance is hinged on taxation, and those who earn higher income pay higher taxes.
To wit, improved services attract higher taxation, which rate is determined by the existing level of productivity.
Low productivity and a small tax bracket equate high taxation – Ghana’s reality.
The citizens who have enjoyed free services in the past five years are raising a hue and cry over new and increased taxes with the lame excuse that they did not ask for such services; they are poor.
Well, government needs taxes to provide an environment that reduces poverty.
Many citizens wilfully, unremorsefully commit atrocities against the environment, which poor actions spiral off human suffering and environmental degradation, culminating in increased state expenditure and high cost of living that deepen residents’ poverty.
Gullibility renders many residents susceptible to exploitation.
Ghanaians’ debilitating mindset that they are entitled to reward without work continues to drain national coffers, replenished through high taxation.
Instead of throwing punches, this hung parliament should conscientiously negotiate for the most effective implementation of the E-Levy.
The National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) should quadruple national sensitisation efforts in civic responsibilities.
When government expenditure keeps skyrocketing and productivity remains low, higher taxation results.
The extensive aid that supports Ghana results from high taxation of people elsewhere.
So why should we not raise taxes to propel our development? Paying tax towards self-sustenance is dignifying; effective utilisation of taxation is the only realistic channel towards sustainable development.
Yet, many Ghanaians fail to accept that. The agitators are not fighting for E-Levy tax withdrawal; they are viciously gripping the entrenched dependency mentality – expecting but not prepared to work/pay for services/development.
The writer is a Lecturer, Communication Skills, Takoradi Technical University, Takoradi.