The government has been urged to redesign its revenue mobilisation strategy to focus on property tax to raise the needed revenue for the country’s development.
Professor Sir Paul Collier, Director, Centre for Study of African Economies, Oxford University, who made the call, said, sprawling mansions in the main cities and other urban areasin the country was an opportunity for government to tap revenue from an area with the potential to contribute significantly to development.
He was speaking in Accra on Friday during a public lecture organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) on the theme “Africa: New Opportunities, Old Impediments.”
“In Ghana, just as many African countries, property tax makes minimal contribution to the budget although it has the potential to contribute significantly to the national kitty. We can observe numerous sprawling mansions in the cities and other urban areas. This is an area the government must target with robust system to raise the needed revenue for development,” Prof Collier said.
Social and economic growth, he said, would be achieved when the government made a conscious effort to expand direct tax base including property tax to rope in potential taxpayers for improved revenue.
Currently, Professor Collier attributed Ghana’s low revenue mobilisation to lack of robustness in revenue systems which were as a result of narrow tax base, spate of tax exemptions, tax evasion, administrative inefficiencies and corruption.
A strong mobilisation effort, he said, was therefore necessary to increase the country’s resource envelope to support development.
He reiterated the need for strong institutions in the country to ensure good governance and judicious use of resources.
Prof Collier decried the current format in the appointment of heads which was centralised in the hands of the President, arguing that it mostly result in the appointment of party people and not competent and independent minded citizens.
He, therefore, proposed the establishment of an appointment process that was transparent and not unduly influenced by political considerations.
“We have been reminded of the importance of having strong institutions to promote good governance. But for institutions to remain strong, we need to ensure that the heads and leadership of these independent constitutional bodies are competent, independent minded, have integrity and would not buckle under any undue pressure from any quarter,” he stated.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS and DOROTHY BROCKE