New Year School calls on government to reverse property rates directive

Participants of the 73rd Annual New Year School and Conference (ANYSC)have called on the government to reverse its directive which mandated the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA)to collect the country’s property rates.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, presenting the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy on the floor of Parliament last year said the government would implement a new strategy to help Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts Assemblies (MMDAs) effectively collect property rates.

“The government, through the GRA, will from January 2022, assist the MMDAs to implement a common platform for property rate administration to enhance property rate collections and its accountability.

“To ensure cost recovery by government in providing the infrastructure for the collection of the rate, a sharing ratio will be agreed with the Assemblies,” he said.

However, the participants of the ANYSC, organised by the University of Ghana (UG), are of the view that the property rates should be an integral part of revenue mobilisation efforts by the MMDAs to meet developmental needs at the grassroots level.

Dr Issahaka Fuseini from the UG Department of Adult Education and Human Resources Studies, who read the conference’s communiquéat its closing ceremony on Wednesdaysaidgovernment should improve on the country’s data collection.

He explained that improving data collection would help with policy targeting as that would save the country resources to be used on important sectors of the economy.

Dr Fuseini said the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service should identify emerging technologies with emphasis on local content and innovation to help address COVID-19 challenges.

He added that the Ministry of Health should collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the health sector to provide continuous professional development in digital literacy and skills to healthcare workers to enable them use these emerging technologies effectively.

“Digital infrastructure should be provided and made accessible to address inequalities in education. The Ministry of Education could leverage public-private partnership to enhance the provision and effectiveness of internet, data, computing devices, and learning management system,” he said.

Dr Fuseini said to push the nation’s industrialisation agenda forward, the government should review its benchmark value reduction policy to exempt products that could be manufactured locally.

He said the conference believed such review would enhance the competitiveness of local manufacturers as government further involve the private sector to provide warehouses infrastructure in rural areas to deal with post-harvest losses, and improve the operations of the National Buffer Zone Stock Company.

Organised by the university’s School of Continuing Education and Distance Education, the three-day ANYSC, which was aimed at discussing pertinent issues in the country, was on the theme “COVID-19 and Socioeconomic Dynamics in Ghana.”

BY BERNARD BENGHAN                                         

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