New Patriotic Party (NPP) strongman, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko is advocating tax compliance at the right rates in order to ensure a prosperous Ghana.
He said ‘’we must begin as a nation to focus on the issue of how we can all pay our taxes, at the right rates (even if lower but wider), so that mantras such as Ghana Beyond Aid can indeed be meaningful’’
Mr. Otchere-Darko said Ghana now has the tenth largest economy in Africa, with the size increasing now by 25%, after rebasing.
He explains that the country had been at this particular juncture before (in 2009), where, buoyed by the rebased economy and the prospects of oil flow, Ghana went borrowing like there was no tomorrow and ended up running into the thorny arms of the IMF 5 years later for a costly but necessary bailout.
‘’But, what this new, improved size also does is to further expose how woeful we are in raising taxes. Simply put, we do not pay our taxes. Today, we are even calling for more taxes to be removed from petroleum products! When Gov’t tries to get importers to pay the real duties (no increase) it is met with an outcry because we are used to bribing the collector and not paying the exchequer’’ he argued further.
He said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations may have a Debt to GDP ratio far worse than that of Ghana, with Japan’s around 250%.
Explaining that yet, they do two things far better than Ghana, adding that they produce and they pay and collect taxes, averaging 34% of GDP.
‘’Here, before rebasing, tax to GDP ratio was at a pitiful 15.7% in 2017. It has slumped further to a pathetic 12.6% after rebasing. Deceptively, our debt to GDP ratio is now looking a lot prettier, with the risk of pushing us even further into the debt hole as we diligently free ourselves from the IMF, hopefully at the end of this year’’ he concluded.