President Nana Akufo-Addo has observed at Ghana’s 65th Independence Day anniversary held in Cape Coast, Central Region, on Sunday, 6 March 2022, that even though every Ghanaian wants to see quick development, not everyone wants to pay taxes.
Without mentioning the controversial e-levy, Mr Akufo-Addo said: “There is one matter of overriding significance, which we can no longer ignore: that is the pressing need to increase, dramatically, our domestic resource mobilisation and reduce and eliminate our dependence on foreign savings”.
Today, he noted, “there’s no question that the most important thing on most people’s mind is the need for accelerated national development to improve living standards and generate jobs for the mass of the people, especially the youth.”
He noted that no one disagrees on that issue, “however, not everyone is ready to take the next step to the recognition that accelerated national development can best take place with a considerable increase in revenue mobilisation”, adding: “And very few will then take the next further step to accept that revenue mobilisation will happen principally through taxation”.
“In our society, we have, unfortunately, not yet reached the stage of universal acceptance of taxation as a matter of public good”, the President said.
“But truth be told, our tax-to-GDP ratio of 12.2 per cent compares unfavourably with our peers the world over”, asserted the President.
He said, “Less than 10 per cent of the Ghanaian population, i.e., 2.4 million people, carry the direct tax burden of 30.8 million people”.
“The Asian Tigers, who we envy and want to emulate, financed their rapid development from their own savings”, Mr Akufo-Addo noted.
“We need to do the same and alter our fiscal profile”, he urged.
The Four Asian Tigers are the high-growth economies of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
All four economies have been fueled by exports and rapid industrialisation, and have achieved high levels of economic growth since the 1960s.
“We must move Ghana to a situation beyond aid: that is a Ghana, which is no longer dependent on the benevolence or charity of foreign taxpayers and donors for the management of our public financing”.
“It is doable”, he insisted.
“We want to transform Ghana into a world-class economic hub which will benefit every single Ghanaian”, the President added.