A fiscal policy analyst with Oxfam, Dr. Alex Ampaabeng has urged the Government to ensure “robust tax education” to encourage tax compliance.
According to him, though some Ghanaians would genuinely want to pay taxes, they are not empowered to do so because they have not received adequate information on what the taxes will be used for.
Dr. Ampaabeng said this included “telling them how much we are generating and how much we are spending.”
His call comes on the back of the latest Afrobarometer survey, which shows that 70 percent of Ghanaians are sceptical about how the government uses revenues from taxes.
The report which surveyed over 2,400 adults also revealed that 84 percent of Ghanaians believe that some tax officials are corrupt.
The government in its 2021 budget statement introduced a 1% COVID-19 levy, 1% increase in National Health Insurance Levy, and 1% increase in flat VAT rate, as well as a 30 pesewa increase in fuel prices to take care of excess power capacity charges [20 pesewas] and Sanitation and Pollution Levy [10%], among others.
In his interview with Citi News, Dr. Ampaabeng also urged the government to boldly implement strict measures to address the issue of corruption within the country’s tax regime.
He stressed that Ghanaians want to see their taxes at work.
“There should be visible signs of tax payments. There are some particular taxes that we can earmark, so people will be able to see. For example, you go to the market and collect those market tolls. Market women or men go out to do their business and when it rains, it is muddy everywhere. People are paying taxes and the roads are not properly being done.”
In addition, he noted that Ghanaians were also looking for fairness.
“There are a lot of complaints and issues around the tax. It is extremely regressive. If you want people to comply, people want to be sure that the rate at which they are paying compared to their peers is also good.”