Laziness impeding widening of tax net
The inability of the government to touch base with those in the informal sector to collect taxes from them and create a mechanism where they can be captured in the tax bracket has been attributed to laziness on the part of the government.
Economist Professor Godfred Bokpin who made this assertion added that the government 's tendency to rely on tax handles to indirectly collect taxes for those it can reach directly impeded the realization of the long cliché of widening the tax net.
“We have a 14 million tax paying population, less than three million are paying direct income tax, a huge chunk are not paying, we are not growing a taxable economy,” Professor Bokpin stated on the weekly Graphic Business X dialogue series on the 2024 Budget Statement and Government Economic Policy this afternoon.
He noted that for the country to be able to widen its tax net, it requires hard work and discipline which the government is not prepared to undertake hence the bulk of our taxes which emanate from the informal sector will go uncollected.
“Ghana has become like a spoiled child that lacks discipline and always wants the soft way, Ghana needs discipline not money to be able to actualize its development agenda,” he stated.
Tax to GDP ratio
He dismissed the notion that Ghana’s low tax to GDP ratio is inimical to its development saying countries like Malaysia and Singapore don’t have exceptional tax to GDP ratio but they are thriving.
“Ghana’s lack of development is not a low tax to GDP ratio, it is the issue of governance and its failures that manifest in finance and other sectors,’ he stated.
The Professor of Finance chastised the sole sourcing of the majority of state contracts and the centralized procurement format that the government undertakes with regards to government contracts saying that is not the way to go.
“This breeds corruption, according to the stats not less than three billion dollars is lost through corruption annually and we are at the IMF begging for a three billion dollar loan, is it not a shame”?, he queried.
He called for a second look on Ghana’s procurement system to make it efficient and corrupt free for the benefit of the society.