Collection of property rate, widening of tax net necessary - Opoku-Afari
The First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Maxwell Opoku-Afari, has said efficient collection of property rate and capturing of the informal sector onto the tax bracket were ways to generate sufficient resources to finance development.
He said the country was facing a significant reduction in development assistance since it attained a middle-income status which required the government to look within to mobilise resources to support development.
The deputy governor, therefore, appealed to the people, especially the private sector, to support efforts by the government to generate the needed resources and capacity to address the country’s development challenges.
Dr Opoku-Afari was speaking at a public lecture organised by the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) in Accra last Thursday on the topic: “Re-thinking development finance: Macroeconomic management when the Love is gone.”
It was the deputy governor’s turn to deliver the lecture as Corporate Executive in Residence (CEIR) for the past one year.
It had hosted personalities such as the Governor of BoG, Dr Ernest Addison, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, the Dean of UGBS, and Prof. Justice Bawole.
Participants included faculty members, students and other guests from the public and private sectors.
According to Dr Opoku-Afari, “this lecture is calling for support from all of us, especially the private sector, to help generate the needed capacity to deliver on the many projects we expect government to fix”.
He said the country’s official development assistance (ODA) inflows had dried up and alternative sources of financing were now required to close the gap.
“ODA from bilateral and multilateral sources in the late 1980s and early 2000s were a major source of medium to long-term concessional financing to the country and was intended to support infrastructure and human capital development, but sometimes used as balance of payment support.
“With the recognition that the love is gone, ODA inflows have dried up, alternative sources of financing are required to close the gap,” the deputy governor added.
According to him, there is the need for a social contract with the government —where the citizens commit to pay taxes and the government also commits to efficiently use these resources for the provision of public goods,” he said.
Dr Opoku-Afari further said “we should keep thinking big, start small, but we should start now to address these challenges”.
Focus on tourism
The Chairperson for the lecture, Prof. Amfo, said the government needed to take steps to improve the country’s domestic revenue mobilisation efforts with special focus on tourism and culture since they were areas the country had competitive advantage in, and for that matter, needed to be harnessed.
“For the past one and half year since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, it has brought a situation where nations need to fully be in charge of their own affairs”, she added.
“For his part, Prof. Bawole said the university was investing in cutting-edge technology to enhance teaching and learning to ensure students graduated with the best digital skills for the job market.