Increasing taxes may impede economic growth- ISSER

Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor University of Ghana launching the report.

Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor University of Ghana launching the report.

The increasing levels of taxes, as well as the energy challenges that the country faced may compromise growth targets for this year.

This is the view of the Institute of Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) as contained in its state of the Ghanaian Economy Report 2015 (SGER).

Speaking at the launch of the report, Prof Felix Asante, the Director said passage of the Public Financial Management Bill (2016) might help to protect the managers of the country’s public finances against undue political pressure to spend wastefully in the upcoming general elections in December.

The report mentioned that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.9 per cent in 2015, down from 4.0 per cent in 2014, thus continuing the trend since 2011.

The services sector was the largest and the fastest growing sector of the economy in 2015, followed by the industrial sector which was the largest contributor to GDP, but slowest growing sector, accounting for 24.4 per cent of GDP.

“The performance of the industrial subsectors was mixed, with water and sewerage, manufacturing and the construction sub-sectors recording positive growth while mining and quarrying and electricity recorded negative growth. The worst performing industrial subsector was electricity, which contracted by 10.2 per cent,” the report said.

It also noted that despite the improved access and investments in the country’s education, the quality of education at all levels had fallen significantly.

“Standards in education have fallen due to the non-availability of adequate and sustainable funding to meet the increasing numbers of students at the basic, secondary and tertiary levels.”

Prof Asante, who is also Coordinator of SGER 2015, said the report found out that most pupils at the basic level were unable to read after Primary Two.

He said at the secondary level, the performance of most students in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) particularly in Mathematics and Science, “had been on the decline since 2012 when it peaked”.

Prof. Asante said the surge in admission rates at the tertiary level had affected quality of delivery, since that had not been matched by corresponding increases in facilities.

According Prof Asante, tertiary education financing had been the joint responsibility of government and students.

“However, the over-reliance on government for financing public tertiary education has taken its toll on the quality of infrastructure in most tertiary institutions. Yet various governments have been reluctant to pass on excessive costs of tertiary education to students in public tertiary institutions. The implication is that costs are controlled and such controls do not support quality,” he added.

Launching the report, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu described the 2015 SGER as “non-political facts and what the economy actually is” and urged all stakeholders to read its content.

According to the vice chancellor, the country would never develop unless special attention and resources were channeled to the agriculture sector and to science and mathematics education.

He said the report had been put on pendrives and CDs for easy accessibility and reading.

 

By Joseph Edu Archison         

 

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