Increased Demand For Public Service; We Have To Close The Revenue Gap

As the government gears up for the presentation of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy in Parliament on Monday 15th November 2021, there is an ongoing national conversation on how government should go about its revenue mobilization in order to close the gaping fiscal deficit in its books.

With dwindling revenue streams attributable to the slowdown in business activities occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, Ghana is lagging behind most of its peers within the West African sub-region as far as the tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is concerned.

While Ghana is doing below 15 percent, countries in the sub-region like Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria are hovering around an average of 18 percent, raising questions on whether increasing taxes in the 2022 budget will help the government shore up revenue inflows to fund developmental projects.

The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in an interview with journalists in Accra on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, suggested that as demands for public services like the construction of roads and hospitals has seen an uptake, one of the ways government can bring about development is to mobilize more domestic revenue to enable it to satisfy the legitimate needs of its people.

“Obviously, we would need to introduce some new broad-based taxes if we are to rake in the needed revenues to deliver what our people desire. New taxes may have to be imposed on items that exclude the poor and do not have a high cascading effect so that it does not increase the difficulties that the Ghanaian is going through,” he said.

According to him about, 8 percent to 12 percent of the country’s GDP which ideally should come to government is not coming. Yet, these economic activities are ongoing and are being recorded forcing the government to find ways to mobilize funds through taxes to fund the demands for roads, schools, hospitals.

He said the government’s target through the 2022 budget is to consolidate the gains made so far in previous years and reboot the economy and set it back on track.