2020 Budget: Dr Dziwornu lauds government for not introducing new taxes

Accra- Dr Raymond Dziwornu, Dean, Faculty of Accounting and Finance, University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has lauded the Government for not introducing new taxes in the 2020 Budget and Economic Policy Statement.

According to him, the decision of the Government not to introduce new taxes was a step in the right direction.

He suggested that what the government needed to do was to focus on how to make the revenue generation system more efficient.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday in Accra in reaction to the 2020 Budget, Dr Dziwornu noted that the budget, which was on the theme “Consolidating the Gains for Growth, Jobs and Prosperity for all”, was a comprehensive one.

This, he said was so, because all key areas of the economy, such as infrastructural development, rail, digitisation, agriculture and health were covered.

“With respect to revenue, what I think we need to look at is that digitisation is now the order of the day”, he said.

“It is rather unfortunate that as at September this year, government has not been able to meet its revenue targets.”

He said the informal sector had always been talked about, and these were people that digitisation was in their hands.

He urged the government to take advantage of leveraging on the digital period that Ghanaians found themselves in.

He cited that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) had gone digital, hence licences were now made digitally.

“And I think the burden of having to chase people for revenue now will be a thing of the past”

“Recently I saw some officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) visiting institutions, closing their businesses because they want to make sure that people are tax compliant. It is a good efforts, and I think that is fine. But I am just wondering the extent to which that can go.”

Dr Dziwornu therefore, appealed to the Government to leverage more upon the digital world, take advantage of that to ensure that the nation generates more revenue.

He said with the focus on the digital address system to be able to identify people, there was also the need to focus on how well to integrate the various identification.

He said it was rather unfortunate the national identification card was not accepted by some institutions.

He said since the national identification card was backed by law, all institutions must accept it during transactions.

The Dean therefore, appealed to the Government to ensure that all institutions accepted the national identification card.

Dr Dziwornu also urged the government to ensure that gains made in the economy over the past three years were sustained.

“We are approaching an election, and as far as I am concerned, it will not be appropriate for a government to undertake interventions that will seems to make them unpopular within the period that we are going,” he said.

He said the budget was about completing interventions that were started in the past two, three years.

“On the micro front, we’ve done well. As far as microeconomic variables are concerned – inflation has dropped to around seven per cent, the exchange rate although is on the high side, it is relatively stable. Then in terms of the general economic growth, you can attest to the fact that gross domestic product (GDP) is around seven per cent,” he said

“At the micro front, we’ve done well. But I guess the story has always been that if we’ve done well at the micro front, is that reflecting in our pockets.”

He said decision by the government to pursue a massive infrastructural development next year was a step in the right direction.

“But my only worry is that government has to be extra careful in ensuring that we do not go beyond the five per cent fiscal financial management act that has being put across. So that government does not spend beyond.”

He said history showed that once the nation got to an election time, governments would want to go beyond what they had budgeted; declaring that “I am only hoping that we will be within our expenditure, so that we don’t go beyond that”.

On his part, Dr Richard Agbanyo, Lecturer, Department of Banking and Finance, UPSA, in his general impression about budget, described it as quite an ambitious one.

He explained that it was because the expenditure was on the higher side, one might be tempted to conclude that the budget was quite ambitious.

“We are talking about total expenditure of 86 billion Ghana Cedis, expected revenue of 67 billion Ghana Cedis, which created a deficit of about 18.9 billion Ghana Cedis.”

“Out of this revenue, I am talking about domestic revenue constituting about 65.8 billion. We learn from history or the previous years that we are not able to achieve our revenue targets, which suggest that we may be relying on external sources to finance the deficits.”

He urged the government to abide by its own budget sealing in order to prevent the national debts from escalating.

Source: Ghana News Agency