President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described the proposed e-levy as an innovative fiscal measure, which will help improve the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio on an equitable basis.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “I believe strongly that it is in the public interest that it should be enacted into law. We cannot continue to live forever on foreign savings. Those who are concerned about our debt burden are right to focus on it as a major pre-occupation.”
Delivering the keynote address at the National Labour Conference, held on Monday, 28th February 2022, at Kwahu Nkwatia, in the Eastern Region, the President stated that “it is time we accepted the full implications of our goal of Ghana Beyond Aid, and designed our fiscal profile accordingly. The Asian Tigers, whom we envy and want to emulate, financed their rapid development from their own savings. We need to do the same.”
With the pandemic of COVID-19 ravaging the economies of the world, including that of Ghana, he told the gathering that transforming the economy would require the active involvement and participation of all, including the large informal economy.
The President explained that an economy, in which only a small proportion of the population bears the brunt of direct taxation, is unlikely to witness any rapid transformation.
“We have to make concerted efforts as Partners to hasten our recovery from COVID-19 by finding intelligent ways of bringing everyone on board to contribute their quota, no matter how small,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “Government, on its part, is implementing a policy of cutting the budgets of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by twenty percent (20%) this year, as its contribution to measures to ensure fiscal consolidation.”
Ghana’s tax-to-GDP ratio of 12.2%, the President said, compares unfavourably with the rest of the world, as the average tax-to-GDP ratio in West Africa stands at 18%, and the average for OECD countries standing at 34%.
“It is, thus, no wonder that American, German, French, Japanese and British peoples, amongst others, can readily find the means to fund their own development, particularly their infrastructural development, whereas we are constantly struggling to do the same,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that there is an urgent need to enhance significantly the nation’s capacity for domestic revenue mobilisation to realise our development potential, create opportunities for the vibrant and dynamic youth, and deliver improved livelihoods for the citizenry.
He reiterated that “we cannot continue to allow less than ten percent (10%), specifically 7.8%, i.e., 2.4 million people, of the population carry the direct tax burden of 30.8 million people. We must provide an opportunity for every Ghanaian to contribute towards nation building.”
The President, thus, appealed to all Ghanaians, including those participating at the National Labour Conference “to ensure that the hidden, submerged or informal economy is brought within the remit of the formal economy. This would be one of the surest ways of expanding the tax base for mobilising adequate resources to sustain development.”