A deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Asare has called on the Minority Caucus to support government take the country out of its current economic challenges by helping to pass the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government as presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Madam Asare who was contributing on the first day of debate on the 2023 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government said the quicker the House is able to pass the budget, the better for the country.
She said Ghana’s economic situation is worrying as the country has no access to the international capital market, and with our currency depreciating by almost 54 percent.
“The quicker we do something about it, the better. And it is in this region, or it is in this light that we are asking our colleagues on the other side to support government with the revenue measures that we have stated in paragraph 212 – 222 of this year’s budget.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot keep the ball down the road because every delay that we delay in passing out this revenue measure means we are pushing Ghana down the drain. As it stands now, our tax revenue to GDP ratio is 11 percent way below that of our peers which is around 18 percent, Mr. Speaker; so clearly, we need to do something about it; we need to raise more revenue to help us push the development agenda and also to stabilize the economy and make things better for our citizenry”.
She is hopeful the reform measures put forward by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA); both administrative and some in technology driven would help increase our tax to GDP ratio to about 18 percent in the medium term and also improve on the way we collect our taxes.
She said measures to make tax collection more efficient are not the only way to improve revenue hence the need to raise some form of taxes to support our fiscal consolidation. That is why is important for the Minority to support the tax measures.
She debunked Dr. Ato Forson’s accession that VAT is currently 21 percent stating that it is rather 12.5 percent, and “government is hoping that the 2.5 percent increase would be passed to help raise 2.7 billion Ghana cedis for development.
She described the VAT as the more sustained way of collecting revenue as it has benefited successive governments under the fourth Republic.
She appealed that we have moved beyond the 1995 events of the VAT, and that both sides of the House should see consider the 2.5 percent increase in VAT devoid of any partisan consideration to make sure we move revenue up for our nation.