Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, has made a passionate appeal to Ghanaians to honour their taxes to enable the government’s vision of Ghana Beyond Aid.
He indicated that there were large number of Ghanaians who were not living up to their tax obligations, a situation the Finance Minister described as threat to the President’s vision of moving the country beyond external help, aids and grants.
“We should be concerned about how to move Ghana beyond aid and loans, which are less predictable and costly, than tax revenue. It will be unreasonable on the part of responsible Ghanaian citizens to demand economic transformation, if we cannot make domestic tax revenues a significant source of development finance for our country.
“Whiles we plead with Ghanaians to respond to their civic duties by paying their taxes, we want to assure you that my staff at the Ministry of Finance and I, will protect the public purse with uncompromising courage, integrity, fortitude and love for country,” he said.
Mr Ofori-Atta was speaking at an economic forum organised by the Danquah Institute last Friday in Accra.
He said one of the surest ways, of realising the President’s vision of moving Ghana beyond aid, was for the citizenry to take the country at heart and contribute their quota, regardless of their social affiliations.
“But, really, as far as the taxman is concerned, wearing a suit and having a business card are not the stuff that qualifies you as being part of the formal sector. It is how you live up to your tax obligations.
How many Ghanaians are registered with SSNIT? Although we have seen a marked improvement in SSNIT contributions from GH¢280 million in 2016 to GH¢486 million in 2019, how many Ghanaians are on SSNIT or how many Ghanaians who consider themselves responsible citizens do also consider their employees as also worthy of a decent pension and, therefore, make their SSNIT contributions?,” he queried.
Mr Ofori-Atta said there were many lawyers out there, accountants, respectable consultants, PhD holders, big businessmen, who simply refused to declare their incomes.
He noted that, although these respectable people had the resources and knowledge to make their fair contribution, they simply refuse to pay their taxes and yet shout the loudest on social media and any given forum about how the government was failing in delivering public services.
BY BERNARD BENGHAN