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CUTS-Accra, a nongovernmental advocacy organisation in collaboration with Oxfam has engaged the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to strategize on how to maximize revenues collected as property rates in all districts.
The workshop was on the theme: “Fiscal Policies to Address Inequalities.”
His Lordship Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana and the Board Chairman for CUTS-Accra discussed how the government can use the tools of taxation and spending to address the level of inequalities in the country.
“Taxation is the act of levying money from citizens and residents and redistributing it in the country according to need,” he stressed.
He said, CUTS-Accra has been very active in Ghana in promoting consumer welfare through championing efforts to enact a National Consumer Protection Bill, and a National Competition Bill, accompanied to an appropriate national competition policy.
In addition, CUTS believes that the best indicator for measuring progress is the extent to which consumer welfare is enhanced, and not just the extent of increase of GDP and other macroeconomic indices.
Justice Darte-Baah further hinted that the economic inequality is on the increase in Ghana, which is also affecting the fight to reduce extreme poverty
“Ghana’s economy is largely informal meaning tax collection is an uphill task and so, for this reason, government relies heavily on indirect taxes, rather than on direct taxes.
“And on the whole, Ghana is unable to collect the required taxes to fund its development. Government bridges the gap by issuing local and external bonds and other forms of borrowing.
“Tax to GDP ratio is less than 17%. This is indicative of the fact that there are many economic activities that are not taxed,” he stated.
He said ‘Ghana beyond Aid’ implies that government must be able to raise the needed funds for the country’s development.
“The law as it stands, allows the MMDAs to collect fees, levies and property rates,” he added. He said however that, data available indicates that the MMDAs’ attempts to collect property rates fall short due to over reliant on the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
“Increased revenue from property rates means that MMDAs can finance their development agenda without having to wait for Accra,” he stated
The head of local government, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, called for the implementation of reliable data base, monitoring mechanisms and strengthening of mechanisms as a means of reducing leakages at all MMDAs.
Source: Nii Aflah Sackey